Police workforce

Summary

The police workforce figures for Lancashire Constabulary as at 31 March 2018, show that there were 2,969 police officers of all ranks (full-time equivalents (FTEs)), plus 297 FTE police community support officers (PCSOs) and 1,751 civilian police staff (FTEs). There were also headcounts of 347 special constables and 367 police support volunteers (PSVs). This gives a total workforce of 5,017 FTEs, plus headcounts of 347 special constables and 367 PSVs. Special constables and police support volunteers 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 an estimated resident population of 1.490 million people in mid-2017.

With 199 police officers per 100,000 population, the Lancashire Constabulary area has proportionately fewer officers per head than the England and Wales average of 208.

Of the 2,969 police officers (all ranks) within Lancashire constabulary on 31 March 2018, 134 (4.5%) 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 2018

The Lancashire Constabulary total FTE workforce of 5,017 as at 31 March 2018 was 186 greater (3.9%) than the figure of 4,831 a year earlier. For the 43 police forces in England and Wales, there were 199,752 FTE workers employed on the 31 March 2018, a rise of 1,066 (0.5%) on a year earlier. The British Transport Police employed an additional workforce of 4,585 FTEs on the 31 March 2018, which was 125 (2.8%) greater than the 2017 total of 4,460 FTEs.

The number of police officers of all ranks in Lancashire Constabulary rose by 119 FTEs (4.2%) over the year, from 2,850 at 31 March 2017, to 2,969 at 31 March 2018. Contrary to Lancashire Constabulary, for the 43 forces within England and Wales, the number of police officers dropped over the year by -0.6%, or -738 FTEs, to 122,404 FTEs at 31 March 2018. The British Transport Police, however, saw an increase in the number of police officers of all ranks of 186 FTEs (6.9%), rising to 2,865 FTEs at 31 March 2018.

Looking at police constables in isolation, in Lancashire Constabulary, the number of constables rose by 135 FTEs (6.1%) over the year, to 2,333 FTEs at 31 March 2018. Contrary to the Lancashire increase, the number of police constables decreased by 477 FTEs (-0.5%) within England and Wales as a whole, to 95,363 FTEs on 31 March 2018. However, in the British Transport Police, the number of police constables rose by 184 FTEs (9.1%) over the year, to 2,202 FTEs on 31 March 2018.

Figure 1: Change in total police workforce and sub-categories of worker (full time equivalents) and change in the headcount of special constables –31 March 2017 to 31 March 2018

Sources: Gov.uk, Policing statistics and Home Office Statistical Bulletin 11/18, Police Workforce, England and Wales, 31 March 2018 and data tables – worksheet tables H3 (police workforce), H4 (police officers), H11 (police staff), (H12 PCSOs), (H13 Designated officers), (H14 Special constables).

The Lancashire Constabulary civilian police staff totalled 1,751 FTEs at 31 March 2018. This was an increase of 45 FTEs (+2.6%) on the figure of 1,706 for the previous year. For the 43 police forces within England and Wales as a whole, the police staff numbers increased by a slightly greater percentage of 2.9% (+1,757 FTEs) to 62,820 FTEs at 31 March 2018. The British Transport Police on the other hand saw a slight decrease in civilian staff of 18 FTEs (-1.2%), falling to 1426 FTEs at 31 March 2018.

Police community support officer numbers rose by 22 FTEs (8.0%) within Lancashire Constabulary, from the 275 FTEs on the books at 31 March 2017, to the 297 in March 2018. However, for England and Wales, the total number of PCSOs fell by 74 FTE posts (-0.7%) to 10,139 FTEs over the year. Across the British Transport Police, the number of PCSOs also fell, by 33 FTEs (-11.0%), to 267 FTEs at 31 March 2018.

The number of special constables in Lancashire Constabulary decreased by 135 (-28.0%), or by more than a quarter, to 347 as at 31 March 2018, from the 482 recorded at 31 March 2017. For England and Wales as a whole, the headcount of special constables fell by more than an eighth, -13.4% (-1,813), to 11,690 at the end of March 2018. In the British Transport Police, the number of special constables reduced slightly, by 13 (-4.1%) to 302 on 31 March 2018. 

Lancashire Constabulary recorded a zero return for designated officers for both March 2017 and March 2018. For the remaining police forces within England and Wales that utilise designated officers, the number increased by 125 FTEs (2.9%) to 4,380 FTEs as at 31 March 2018. However, for the British Transport Police, the number of designated officers fell by 10 FTEs (-27.0%) to 27 FTEs at 31 March 2018.

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'.

Yearly change in frontline policing numbers and estimated change since 2010

Over the last year, from 31 March 2017 to 31 March 2018, the total number of FTE police officers employed in all frontline, frontline support and business support roles within Lancashire Constabulary has increased by 189 FTEs (7.3%), from 2,594 FTEs to 2,783 FTEs. This is the first increase in the series (from 2010) and puts numbers back above those last seen in 2015 (2,710 FTEs). The 2018 figure is still below the total of 3,408 FTEs estimated to be in all frontline, frontline support and business support roles within Lancashire Constabulary in March 2010 by 18.3% (-625 FTEs).

The yearly increase in Lancashire Constabulary for all frontline, frontline support and business support roles is contrary to the reduction of -0.4% (- 474 FTEs) recorded for the 43 police forces in England and Wales (- 474 FTEs), where numbers fell from 113,087 FTEs to 112,613 FTEs.

Over the longer period, from March 2010 to March 2018, for the 43 police forces in England and Wales, the number of FTEs in all frontline, frontline support and business support roles has fallen by -16.9% (- 22,940 FTEs) from 135,553 FTEs to 112,613 FTEs. The percentage reduction for Lancashire Constabulary (-18.3%) was slightly higher between these dates.

Figure 2: 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 from 31st March 2015 [2] to 31st March 2018 [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 from March 2015 to 2018 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.[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, Police workforce statistics. Home Office, Police workforce, England and Wales, 31 March 2018: data tables Table F6.

Change in the total police workforce and police worker type within the 43 forces in England and Wales – 31 March 2003 to 31 March 2018

The following figures exclude the British Transport Police, which had a total workforce of 4,585 FTEs at 31 March 2018, plus headcounts of 302 special constables and 115 police support volunteers.

Figure 4 shows that the total police workforce employed in the 43 police forces in England and Wales has fallen by 44,745 FTEs (-18.3%), or more than a sixth, between 31 March 2010 and 31 March 2018 from 244,497 to 199,752 FTEs.

Figure 4: 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 2018

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, Police workforce statistics. Home Office, Police workforce, England and Wales, 31 March 2018: data tables Table H3.

The number of police officers has decreased by -21,365 FTEs (-14.9%), or more than a seventh, between 31 March 2009 and 31 March 2018 in the 43 police forces in England and Wales, from 143,769 to 122,404 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 2018, at just over three fifths (61.3%).

The civilian police staff in the 43 police forces in England and Wales has reduced by -16,776 FTEs (-21.1%) or more than a fifth, between 31 March 2010 and 31 March 2018, from 79,596 to 62,820 FTEs. Civilian police staff accounted for 31.4% of the total police workforce at 31 March 2018, or just under a third.

Figure 5 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 -8.653 (-42.5%) or more than two fifths, to 11,690 by 31 March 2018.

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 10,139 at 31 March 2018. As at 31 March 2018, PCSOs accounted for 5.1% of the total police workforce.

The number of designated officers in the 43 police forces in England and Wales had increased only slightly, by 67 FTEs (1.5%) from 4,314 FTEs in at 31 March 2013 to a new peak of 4,380 FTEs at 31 March 2018. Designated officers represented 2.2% of the total police workforce at 31 March 2018.

Figure 5: 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 2018

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, Police workforce statistics. Home Office, Police workforce, England and Wales, 31 March 2018: data tables – Table H3.

There were 9 traffic wardens in the 43 police forces on 31 March 2018. The very small number of traffic wardens reflects the dominant role of local authorities in parking control. Numbers have reduced by 99.6% from the 2,108 recorded at 31 March 2003.

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.  

Further analysis

Police workforce in the Lancashire Constabulary, 31 March 2018 (PDF 1,038 KB)


Page updated 5 October 2018