Police workforce

The police workforce figures for Lancashire constabulary as at 31 March 2016, show that there were 2,860 police officers of all ranks (full-time equivalents (FTEs)), plus 297 FTE police community support officers (PCSOs) and 1,651 civilian police staff (FTEs). There was also a headcount of 480 special constables. This gives a total workforce of 4,808 FTEs, plus a headcount of 480 special constables. Special constables do not have contracted working hours so their numbers are provided on a headcount rather than a FTE basis.

Lancashire constabulary covers the Lancashire County Council 12-authority area, plus the two unitary authorities of Blackburn with Darwen and Blackpool. This is known as the Lancashire-14 area, which had a population of 1.478 million people in 2015.

With 193 police officers per 100,000 population, the Lancashire constabulary area has proportionately fewer officers per head than the England and Wales average of 220.

The fact that Lancashire has fewer police per head of population should be seen within the context of lower crime rates than the national average.

Of the 2,860 police officers within Lancashire constabulary on 31st March 2016, 111 were recorded as being long term absent (more than 28 working days). This includes sick leave, maternity/paternity leave, those suspended, employees taking a career break and 'other leave'. Other leave may include categories such a compassionate leave, study leave and special leave.

Yearly change in police workforce to 31 March 2016

The Lancashire FTE total workforce of 4,808 as at 31 March 2016 was 45 lower (-0.9%) than the figure of 4,853 a year earlier. For the 43 police forces in England and Wales, there were 200,922 FTE workers employed on the 31 March 2016, a decrease of 6,807 (-3.3%) on a year earlier. 

The number of police officers of all ranks in Lancashire constabulary fell by 59 FTEs (-2.0%) over the year, from 2,919 at 31 March 2015, to 2,860 at 31 March 2016. For the 43 forces within England and Wales, the number of police officers dropped by a slightly greater percentage of -2.5%, or -3,126 FTEs, to 124,066 FTEs at 31 March 2016. 

The Lancashire constabulary civilian police staff totalled 1,651 FTEs at 31 March 2016. This was an increase of 48 FTEs (+3.0%) on the figure of 1,603 for the previous year. For the 43 police forces within England and Wales as a whole, however, the police staff numbers dropped by -2,226 FTEs (-3.5%) to 61,668 FTEs at 31 March 2016.

The police community support officer numbers fell by 34 FTEs (-10.2%) within Lancashire constabulary, from the 331 on the books at 31 March 2015, to the 297 in March 2016. For England and Wales, including the British Transport Police, the total number of PCSO's fell by 1,288 FTE posts (-10.2%) to 11,401 at 31 March 2016.

The number of special constables in Lancashire constabulary increased by 104, or 27.7%, to 480 as at the 31 March 2016, from the 376 recorded at 31 March 2015. The numbers are almost back to the total of 490 recorded at 31 March 2014. For England and Wales as a whole, including the British Transport Police, the number of special constables fell slightly, by 25 (-0.2%) to 16,279 at the end of March 2016. 

Lancashire constabulary recorded a zero return for designated officers for both March 2015 and March 2016. For the remaining police forces within England and Wales that utilise designated officers, and the British Transport Police, the number fell by 112 FTEs (-2.6%) to 4,173 FTEs as at 31 March 2016.

Designated officers are police staff (who are not police officers) employed to exercise specific powers that would otherwise only be available to police officers. Designation can be to one or more of four roles: police community support officer (PCSO), investigation officer, detention officer and escort officer. For further information please see the 'User Guide to Police Workforce Statistics'.

Estimated change in Lancashire constabulary frontline policing numbers, 2010 to 2016  

It is estimated that the total number of FTE police officers employed in all frontline, frontline support and business support roles within Lancashire constabulary has fallen by 712 (-20.9%) between 31 March 2010 and 31 March 2016 from 3,408 to 2,696. This is a greater percentage reduction than the -16.0% estimated for the 43 police forces in England and Wales (- 21,655 FTEs) between these dates.

The frontline model excludes police officers recorded under the ‘Other’ function category, which includes police officers on maternity/paternity leave, career break, full-time education or on suspension; and those on long-term leave (sickness, compassionate special or unpaid). Some forces are not able to separate out employees on career breaks, maternity leave and other long term absence. Therefore in some cases these are not included in the “Other” category, but in the relevant function.

The number of police officers employed in frontline roles in Lancashire constabulary is estimated to have decreased by 595 FTEs (-19.3%) between 31 March 2010 and 31 March 2016 from 3,086 to 2,491. The estimated reduction in frontline roles for the 43 police forces in England and Wales was -13.8% (- 16,937 FTEs).

Figure 1:  Lancashire constabulary - estimates of the number of full-time equivalent police officers employed in frontline, frontline support and business support roles, 31 March 2010 [1] to 31 March 2014 [1], and actual numbers as at 31st March 2015 [2] and 31st March 2016 [2]

Notes: [1] Figures for March 2010 to March 2014 have been estimated based on data for a parallel running year (March 2015) and are rounded to the nearest whole number or 0.1 per cent. Further details can be found in the 'User Guide to Police Workforce Statistics'. [2] Figures for March 2015 and 2016 have been calculated using Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary’s (HMIC’s) frontline policing model which can be found in Annex 4 of the Value for Money Profiles (http://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmic/our-work/value-for-money-inspections/value-for-money-profiles/). [3] The frontline model excludes police officers recorded under the ‘Other’ function category, which includes police officers on maternity/paternity leave, career break, full-time education or on suspension; and those on long-term leave (sickness, compassionate special or unpaid). Some forces are not able to separate out employees on career breaks, maternity leave and other long term absence. Therefore in some cases these are not included in the “Other” category, but in the relevant function. [4] Visible operational frontline and non-visible frontline have been added together to give an overall frontline total. [5] Frontline support was previously named operational support under the old framework. 

Source: GOV.UK, Policing statistics. Home Office, Police workforce, England and Wales, 31st March 2016: data tables – Table F9.

Change in the total police workforce and police worker type within the 43 forces in England and Wales – 31 March 2003 to 31 March 2016

The following figures exclude the British Transport Police, which employed 2,968 police officers at 31 March 2016.

Figure 2 shows that the total police workforce employed in the 43 police forces in England and Wales has fallen by 43,575 FTEs (-17.8%), or more than a sixth, between 31 March 2010 and 31 March 2016 from 244,497 to 200,922 FTEs.

Figure 2: Change in total police workforce, police officers and civilian police staff within the 43 forces in England and Wales from 31 March 2003 to 31 March 2016

Notes: [1] Total police workforce excludes British Transport Police. [2] Total police workforce excludes special constables and secondments to central services, but includes secondments in to forces, and workers on career breaks. [3] Total police workforce - data initially provided by the Metropolitan Police as at 31 March 2015 excluded workers on career breaks, and included those seconded out of the force. These figures have subsequently been revised to bring them in line with data for other forces and years. 

Source: GOV.UK, Policing statistics. Home Office, Police workforce, England and Wales, 31st March 2016: data tables – Table H3.

The number of police officers has decreased by -19,703 FTEs (-13.7%), or more than an eighth, between 31 March 2009 and 31 March 2016 in the 43 police forces in England and Wales, from 143,769 to 124,066 FTEs. Not all of these officers will be available for duty. Police officers made up the largest proportion of paid police workers as at 31 March 2016, at just over three fifths (61.7%).

The civilian police staff in the 43 police forces in England and Wales has reduced by 17,929 FTEs (-22.5%), or more than a fifth, between 31 March 2010 and 31 March 2016, from 79,596 to 61,668 FTEs. Civilian police staff accounted for 30.7% of the total police workforce at 31 March 2016, or just under a third.

Figure 3 reveals that the headcount of special constables peaked at 20,343 at 31 March 2012 within the 43 police forces in England and Wales, but has since reduced by 4,347 (-21.4%), or more than a fifth, to 15,996 by 31 March 2016.

The number of PCSOs within the 43 police forces in England and Wales has decreased by 5,874 FTEs (-34.7%), or more than a third, from the peak of 16,918 FTEs at 31 March 2010, to 11,043 at 31 March 2016. As at 31 March 2016, PCSOs accounted for 5.5% of the total police workforce.

The number of designated officers in the 43 police forces in England and Wales had fallen only slightly, by 184 FTEs (-4.3%) from the peak of 4,314 FTEs in at 31 March 2013 to 4,130 FTEs at 31 March 2016.

Figure 3: Change in the number of special constables, police community support officers (PCSOs), designated officers and traffic wardens within the 43 forces in England and Wales from 31 March 2003 to 31 March 2016

Notes: [1] Some forces are unable to provide data on some types of designated officers separately. In these cases designated officers have been counted under police staff.  [2] Special constable figures are provided on a headcount basis. [3] Data initially provided by the Metropolitan Police as at 31 March 2015 excluded workers on career breaks, and included those seconded out of the force. These figures have subsequently been revised to bring them in line with data for other forces and years. Source: GOV.UK, Policing statistics. Home Office, Police workforce, England and Wales, 31st March 2016: data tables – Table H3.

There were 15 traffic wardens in the 43 police forces on 31 March 2016. The very small number of traffic wardens reflects the dominant role of local authorities in parking control. Numbers have reduced by 99.3%, from the 2,095 recorded at 31 March 2004.

Further information and analysis

The way that the Home Office records the various categories of functions undertaken by the police workforce has changed with the data published in July 2016. The model used to measure frontline policing has also changed. The full report, which can be downloaded via the link below, provides further information on the changes as well as data tables, additional background information, yearly change in Lancashire constabulary frontline policing numbers and links to relevant web sites.  

Page updated August 2016