Suffolk police hired more women than men last year, figures reveal
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
Suffolk police was one of eight forces across the UK who hired more women than men last year, statistics on officer numbers have revealed.
The Home Office said an increasing number of women are signing up to join police forces across England and Wales, with female officers accounting for 45% (1,451) of all new recruits between July and September 2021.
Nationally, 11,053 officers have been hired as part of the police uplift programme, and the Home Office said the government is now more than half of the way to meeting its target of 20,000 additional officers by March 2023.
There are also more Black, Asian and minority ethnic officers employed across forces than at any other time in the country’s history, the Home Office added.
In Suffolk, there are now 1,347 police officers in the county - an increase of 103 as of September 30.
The figures show that Suffolk now has more police officers than at any point over the past decade.
Numbers dropped from 1,128 in 2010 to 966 in 2017, but recruitment has picked up following successive council tax precept rises and the launch of the Operation Uplift programme.
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Darren Harris, chairman of Suffolk Police Federation, said: “I am pleased to see our force at the front and leading the way.
“Police forces have long been striving to ensure that their workforce is representative of the communities they serve.
"Attracting more women to join the police service is part of that and the fact that we have recruited more women than men is a really good sign.
“In recent years, we have seen more family-friendly policies introduced but we have also seen more women being appointed as chief constables and in other chief officer roles. That serves to show women considering a career in policing that gender is no barrier to success.”
Suffolk Constabulary Assistant Chief Constable Rob Jones said: "We're really proud of how well that's gone because the uplift is a huge opportunity and we wanted to address the under representation while that opportunity was there.
"Across the force today in Suffolk, 34% of all our officers are women and in the last year it's more like a half which is fantastic."
ACC Jones also highlighted the many women in senior roles across Suffolk police which he said has "huge benefits" for how the force works.
He added: "We've had a really high quality of people wanting to join us in Suffolk so we've been delighted - and people from all backgrounds, experience and age coming forward and wanting to do it.
"I know the youngest are 18, I wouldn't like to say what the eldest are but we get many people career changing in their late 40s joining us.
"So I think that's a really good thing in terms of ethical standards that you're not just getting lots of very young people or people from certain backgrounds. You've got a healthy range there."
Home secretary and Witham MP Priti Patel said the government was "delivering on its pledge" to put 20,000 extra police officers on British streets.
“These extra officers have meant police forces can set up new units tackling crime and protecting vulnerable people – including supporting those who have suffered rape and sexual assault," she said.
“These officers are already on our streets, cutting crime and keeping our communities safe.”