25/07/2005

Police numbers reach record levels

Police numbers in England and Wales have reached record high levels of more than 141,000, the Home Office has reported.

The number of police officers has increased by more than 2,000 since March 2004 to 141,230.

The largest regional percentage increase was reported in West Yorkshire where the number of police officers increased by 7% or 358 officers in the 12 months to March 31 2005.

All groups across the police service saw an increase in staff numbers.

The number of Special Constables has increased by nearly 1,000 since March 2004 to 11,918 - the first annual increase since 1992.

Community Support Officers also increased in number by nearly 2,800 to 6,214, while police staff levels also increased by nearly 3,300 to 70,869.

Home Office Minister Paul Goggins said: "Police numbers are at their highest ever levels, with 141,230 officers serving the public.

"Numbers have risen steadily for several years now. We are committed to funding the service to enable it to continue to employ historically high numbers of police officers.

"While record police officer numbers is excellent news, it is how policing is delivered that is important. By 2008 ever area will benefit from dedicated, visible, accessible and responsive neighbourhood policing teams.

"Led by police officers, these teams will also include community support officers and special constables, and will provide a more modern, efficient and effective service to local communities."

(KMcA/SP)

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