Police and law enforcement is part of the justice sector, which is represented by Skills for Justice Sector Skills Council. It includes: forensic science; prosecution service; courts and tribunals; custodial care; community justice; plus fire and rescue services. The UK justice sector works to create and maintain a safe, just and stable society. The purpose of the sector is to reduce crime and re‐offending, promote confidence in the criminal justice system, protect people and contribute to the reduction and fear of crime, and support the administration of justice. The sector employs around 600,000 employees in the UK across a range of organisations operating with different remits.
Policing and law enforcement within the UK includes agencies responsible for: the maintenance of law and order; the prevention and detection of crime; and the reassurance and support for communities. The main functions are:
- promote safety and reduce disorder
- reduce crime and fear of crime
- investigating crime
- contribute to delivering justice in a way that secures and maintains public confidence in the rule of law
Policing organisations includes: 43 police forces in England and Wales; 8 police forces in Scotland; police service of Northern Ireland; Non‐Home Office Forces, such as British Transport Police, Civil Nuclear Constabulary and Ministry of Defence Police; and Special Forces, such as Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency and Royal Military Police Special Investigations Branch. Law enforcement organisations primarily work to protect the UK borders and frontiers, including HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and UK Border Agency.
- In total, there are 321,828 people working in police and law enforcement, of which:
- 262,124 people work within the police service
- 62,231 work in Non‐Home Office Forces
- 4,645 work in Special Forces
- There are approximately 90 establishments across the UK with the majority employing over 200 employees.
- Police forces in England and Wales employ 80,322 full‐time equivalent non‐uniformed staff to undertake posts in finance, personnel, scenes of crime and transport, force intelligence, etc.
- Women across the justice sector as a whole tend to be concentrated in support roles.
Jobs in the industry range from: Police Officers, Immigration Officers, Police Community Support Officers, Force intelligence officer, Border patrol, Immigrations officer, Inspector, and Call handler.
National and regional data
The East Midlands has 5 police forces that employ approximately 17,800 officers, staff and specials, approximately 7% of the police service. The five forces are: Derbyshire; Leicestershire; Lincolnshire; Northamptonshire; and Nottinghamshire. Derbyshire Constabulary had a 2‐4% increase in the number of officers from 2007 to 2008.
The East of England has 6 police forces that employ approximately 22,000 officers, staff and specials, approximately 9% of the police service. The six forces are: Bedfordshire; Cambridgeshire; Essex; Hertfordshire; Norfolk; and Suffolk.
London has 2 police forces that employ approximately 54,000 officers, staff and specials, approximately 22% of the police service. The forces are: City of London; and Metropolitan Police Service. Additionally 3,100 police officers, staff and specials in the British Transport Police work throughout London.
The North East has 3 police forces that employ approximately 12,000 officers, staff and specials, approximately 5% of the Police service. The three forces are: Cleveland; Durham; and Northumbria.
The North West has 5 police forces that employ approximately 33,500 officers, staff and specials, approximately 13% of the police service. The five forces are: Cheshire; Cumbria; Greater Manchester; Lancashire; and Merseyside.
The South East has 5 police forces that employ approximately 32,600 officers, staff and specials, approximately 13% of the police service. The five forces are: Hampshire; Kent; Surrey; Sussex; and Thames Valley.
The South West has 5 police forces that employ approximately 21,400 officers, staff and specials, approximately 9% of the police service. The five forces are: Avon and Somerset; Devon and Cornwall; Dorset; Gloucestershire; and Wiltshire. Gloucestershire Constabulary had 2‐4% increase in the number of officers from 2007 to 2008.
The West Midlands has 4 police forces that employ approximately 25,000 officers, staff and specials, approximately 10% of the police service. The four forces are: Staffordshire; Warwickshire; West Midlands; West Mercia; and West Midlands.
Yorkshire and Humberside has 4 police forces that employ approximately 24,000 officers, staff and specials, approximately 10% of the Police service. The four forces are: Humberside; North Yorkshire; South Yorkshire; and West Yorkshire.
In Northern Ireland, there are 13,700 people employed in policing and law enforcement, of which mostly all are employed by Police Service Northern Ireland (PSNI). There are a number of skill shortages in Northern Ireland, including: performance management; first line management skills; dealing with volume crime; and investigative skills alongside new community policing issues.
In Scotland, there are 26,629 people employed in policing and law enforcement. The role of Police Community Support Officer has recently been introduced. Immediate challenges for the industry include: attracting appropriately skilled staff; increased partnership working across the sector as a whole; keeping up with technology; and keeping up with policy and legislative change.
In Wales, there are 13,500 people employed in policing and law enforcement, of which the majority are in the police service. Some specific skills shortages include: multi agency working; management and leadership skills; managing change; financial and resource management; ICT and computing; and race and diversity.