Better pay and conditions needed to keep new recruits, says Fed chair

Gwent Police Federation chair Steve Thorpe has welcomed the latest uplift figures while warning that new recruits will only stay if pay and conditions improve.

The Force had 1,324 officers in 2019 before the Government committed itself to a 20,000 increase in headcount for England and Wales by 2023.

Gwent was promised 206 additional officers and 143 have been recruited to date, meaning the Force is now 1,443 strong.

It means that 63 new officers will still be needed by March next year over and above those who resign or retire in order to hit the target.

Steve said: “It is good to see the numbers steadily increasing – the uplift is something that the Federation called for over many years that is now coming to fruition. Of course, this only really takes us back to the position we were in before the austerity years and with populations increase the Government will need to go further.

“But getting eager new recruits through the door is one thing. If we are to hang on to them, we need to ensure that pay keeps up with inflation and officer wellbeing is a key consideration. Our last pay and morale survey found that 33 per cent of our officers are worried about the state of their finances and nine per cent are planning to leave.

“We need to get the basics right otherwise we will see a revolving door effect where we are losing officers quicker than we can replace them.”

The latest figures show that 3.5 per cent of the Gwent recruits are from black and other ethnic backgrounds and 30.4 per cent are women. In total 366 officers have been recruited since 2019 before those who have left the service were taken into account.

The total headcount of police officers in England and Wales as of 31 March stood at 142,526 which is an uplift of 13,576 through the Police Uplift Programme (68 per cent of the target) and a further 497 were recruited through other funding streams (such as from local council tax precept).

Since April 2020, more than four in ten new recruits (42.4 per cent) were female and 11.7 per cent (who stated their ethnicity) identified as ethnic minorities.