Police forces shut door to new recruits, new survey shows

Almost every police force in England and Wales has shut its doors to new recruits, research published by Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary Ed Balls reveals today.

A survey of police force recruitment websites and hotlines shows that 39 of the 43 police forces in England and Wales have frozen recruitment of officers completely. 2 confirm that they are not currently accepting applications and one force is only currently seeking an internal transfer.

One force, Surrey, says it is ‘seeking to hear from like minded individuals who are interested in a police career’, but is only currently advertising vacancies for PCSOs.

Several police forces explicitly state that the recruitment freeze is a direct result of the Spending Review. The survey is being published as Home Office figures uncovered by Ed Balls show that almost 6,000 police officers retire or resign each year.

Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, Ed Balls said:

“To deal with the speed and scale of the government’s twenty per cent funding cuts almost every police force has already been forced to take the drastic measure of stopping all new recruitment.

“This is an early sign that the spending review will hit frontline policing hard. Around 6,000 police officers retire or resign each year, but if deep cuts mean they can’t be replaced with new recruits then I fear we’re going to see the thin blue line stretched to breaking point.

“The Home Secretary’s claims that the cuts will not affect frontline policing are becoming more laughable by the day. With the biggest cuts being demanded by the government in the first two years, forces are finding they cannot protect frontline policing by making long-term efficiency savings.

“The 1500 police officers Greater Manchester is set to lose are just the tip of the iceberg. Every police force in the country has been put in an impossible position by this government’s reckless cuts.”

Ends

Notes to Editors:

1. The survey of police force recruitment can be found here.

2. A parliamentary answer to Ed Balls from the Home Secretary reveals that 5,648 police officers retired or resigned in 2009/10, 6,038 in 2008/09 and 6,016 in 2007/08. Detailed figures, including a force by force breakdown, can be found here.

3. Police officers cannot ordinarily be made redundant. However a number of police forces are already considering using a legal loophole in the police pensions regulations which can forcibly retire officers with thirty years or more service. Parliamentary questions asked by Ed Balls earlier this week revealed that over 3,000 highly experienced police officers could be affected if this was used across the country.

4. On Monday Greater Manchester police were the first force to set out plans to reduce the number of police officers in their force by 1500 and overall staffing by 23 per cent following the spending review. A report from the Chief Constable made clear: “There will be a reduction in frontline police officer numbers”.

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Posted November 21st, 2010 by Ed's team

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