Map shows the English towns and cities with the most and least police officers

British people think police have 'given up' says Neville

The Government has long brandished a pledge to get “tough on crime”.

While this partly entails harsher sentences for convicted criminals, even more evocatively it translates to increasing the number of police on the streets.

To this end, in 2019 the Conservatives made a manifesto commitment to recruit 20,000 new officers in Britain by March 2023. Home Office statistics show this was achieved.

The Police Uplift Programme has bolstered the total headcount to an all-time high of 147,430 full-time equivalent officers – a 5.1 percent hike on the previous year and working out to one per 400 residents nationwide.

A geographic breakdown, however, shows people in some areas are far more likely to notice the presence of the law than others. Check’s interactive map below.

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With just under 35,000 members in its ranks, London’s Metropolitan Police Service is the largest in the country by a factor of four. 

Despite the capital being home to over nine million people, Londoners can sleep easy in the knowledge that they also enjoy the highest ratio of officers to residents – at 397 per 100,000 population. 

Merseyside Police, overseeing Liverpool and the surrounding areas, came second with 290 officers per 100,000. This was followed by Greater Manchester Police (279), Cumbria Police (275) and West Midlands Police (272).

With a police presence roughly half as pronounced as the most heavily patrolled, Lincolnshire was dead last in the rankings with just 156 officers per 100,000.

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On the day it was announced that the Government had met its recruitment target, Home Secretary Suella Braverman told the Public Safety Foundation “more bobbies on the beat” was what Brits wanted, and that 24 of the 43 forces in England and Wales now had more members than ever before.

According to a recent report by the Liberal Democrats, however, resources have been misdirected, resulting in just 12 percent of all officers being on frontline community policing operations. 

Despite numbers growing overall, they claim 4,000 Police Community Support Officers have been taken off the streets since 2015.

This, the party contends, is partly why so few residential burglaries result in a perpetrator being charged. Shocking figures released last week show 213,000 reported cases last year went unsolved – roughly 600 a day.

The recent State of Policing report by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) suggested the fast-paced recruitment drive was leading to a more inexperienced workforce which partly explained so many crimes going unsolved despite the extra resource. 

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