Number of young police officers halves in two years
Figures published today show a dramatic fall of 50% in the number police officers under the age of 26 in forces in England and Wales.
Information obtained by the BBC shows that there were 9,088 officers under the age of 26 in the United Kingdom between 2009-10, which has since dropped to 4,758 between 2011-12.
The decline in officers under the age of 26 is said to be due to a freeze on recruitment, as well as budget constraints.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “Recruitment is a matter for individual forces and it is for chief constables and police and crime commissioners to ensure they have the right mix of officers.”
A large police force, such as the West Midlands’ 12,402-strong force, has just 270 officers under the age of 26, compared to 686 in 2009-10.
Olly Martins, the Police Crime Commissioner for Bedfordshire – which has seen a 58% fall in officers under the age of 26 – told the BBC that the implications were worrying.
He said: “To secure policing by consent, and thereby be as effective as possible, forces need to look like the communities they serve.”
As this is still an ongoing issue, the impact of the cuts in recruitment for future policing is unclear.