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On the quality and quantity of  police numbers in Devon

  • by JW

“This has been the biggest recruitment drive in the Force’s history.” [Devon and Cornwall Force]

Police trainers concerned about “quality and aptitude” of recruits, says study [ UK Police News – Police Oracle]


Local media has been reporting on the increase in police in the South West:

Deputy Chief Constable Jim Colwell said: “While a number of these new officers will still be going through their training, there are a substantial number who are already out there in our communities making a real difference. We have been able to boost resources in a range of key teams and departments to help us keep people safe and bring dangerous offenders to justice. We have bolstered our frontline patrol teams across Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, as well as increase resilience in our neighbourhood policing and roads policing teams.”

Record officer numbers for Devon and Cornwall Police | Local News | News | Sidmouth Nub News

It is inevitably political – with a photo op for the Police Commissioner and commentary from Radio Exe:

Devon & Cornwall Police has had a huge increased in officer numbers, following a slow rebuilding because of savage cuts in the austerity years introduced in 2010… Nearly 1,500 new cops joined the Devon and Cornwall force in the four year to 2023 – the biggest recruitment drive in the Force’s history.

Devon and Cornwall Police numbers up – Radio Exe

A ‘police spokesperson’ has welcomed the numbers:

THE police have welcomed hundreds of new police officers over the last three years, the Devon and Cornwall Force reports. ‘In Devon and Cornwall, we have 619 new police officers that have been funded by both the national Uplift programme and local council precept investment,’ says a police spokesperson. ‘In total we welcomed a total of 1,446 officers between 2019 and 2023 through a combination of our usual recruitment programme, precept and Uplift officers. This has been the biggest recruitment drive in the Force’s history.’

Force welcomes hundreds of new police officers to Devon |

However, the police themselves are reported as saying that many of them are not going to stay – which might effect these numbers:

A fifth of officers plan to leave Devon and Cornwall Police within two years, or are actively looking for jobs elsewhere, new figures reveal. The Police Federation of England and Wales said police officers are reaching “breaking point” and leaving the service due to pay and work conditions. The PFEW’s pay and morale survey, carried out in September and October last year, shows 18% of the 814 officers in Devon and Cornwall Police who responded, said they were planning to leave the service.

A fifth of officers plan to leave Devon and Cornwall Police within two years |

Moreover, there’s been a lot of discussion across the political spectrum about the ‘quality’ of the new officers.

As reported by Fox News:

The use of online assessments has increased as the London Metropolitan Police – known locally as “the Met” – view recruitment as a “numbers game,” a recruitment consultant told The Times U.K. The need to hire “thousands of officers” following austerity cuts has pushed the police to use whatever means necessary to increase officer totals.

London police play ‘numbers game’ hiring officers without face-to-face interviews: report | Fox News

By the Mirror: Police officers with less than 5 years experience now make up almost half of some forces – Mirror Online

And by the Herald: Met boss has ‘concerns’ over speed of hiring thousands of new police officers | Midweek Herald

Recruitment research paper