Frontline police numbers returning to pre-austerity levels
Numbers of frontline police officers are finally returning to pre-austerity levels, according to latest statistics.
The county has more frontline police officers than at any point over the last decade, Home Office figures have shown.
Suffolk Constabulary had 1,154 full-time equivalent officers in frontline roles at the end of March – the most since spending cuts began in 2010.
Numbers dropped from 1,128 in 2010 to 966 in 2017, but picked up following successive council tax precept rises and the launch of Operation Uplift – a government programme to recruit an extra 20,000 officers by 2023.
Frontline officers now account for 93.5% of the workforce – higher than the national average of 91.6%.
Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore said: “Visibility and accessibility are key to public confidence in our police force, so it is encouraging to see this additional investment in policing.
"The extra officers funded through Operation Uplift and through the policing element of the council precept has increased police numbers in Suffolk by 152 in the past two years."
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The three-year uplift programme will increase the local workforce by more than 160 – placing overall numbers at their highest since Mr Passmore was first elected in 2012.
“I do appreciate the pressure our police officers are under and anything we can do to increase numbers is a good thing," he added.
"It is most important that these officers are on the frontline and that is why I have also invested in extra civilian support staff, such as digital experts and investigators, to support warranted officers so they can remain on the frontline."
Across England and Wales, 135,301 full-time equivalent officers were in post as at March 31 – up 5% on March 2020 and the largest year-on-year change since comparable records began in 2004.
Suffolk stands to gain an extra 53 under the government recruitment programme during the financial year – on top of an extra 54 hired last year, in the first of the £750m three-phase campaign.
Among other things, the most recent council tax precept increase will also pay for seven officers to form the county's second highly-visible Kestrel team to fight volume crime.
More detail can in a quarterly update on the police and crime commissioner's website.