I live on the South West coast of England under the jurisdiction of the Devon & Cornwall Police Constabulary, which
recently had further cuts to their budget
cutting officer numbers to the 3000 mark.
For perspective purposes, this is the number of people/public they have to cover:
Devon & Cornwall Police covers the largest geographical police area in England,
The area's population is around 1.5 million, rising to eight million with the influx of visitors in the summer months.
So this had me thinking about how many cops we actually have on duty at any given time and according to
it now stands at:
3,083 Warrant carrying police officers
584 Warrant carrying unpaid uniformed volunteer 'special police' officers
365 Police Community Support Officers - these are not issued with batons, spray, or tazers, and can only use reasonable force to hold a suspected
criminal for 30 minutes until a warrant carrying police officer arrives.
So, in total figures for my local police force, there are 4032 people who can legally detain a suspected criminal, for up to 30 minutes at least, in
the biggest police area in England, and a population which fluctuates between 1.5 million in Winter, to 8 million during Summer.
Now, let's assume that these officers all work a 12 hour shift and have 1 day off each week - I know this is a ridiculous extreme, but it shows that
the reality is less officers actually available at any time than the number I reach - so that means 576 are having a day off, and 1728 are on duty
covering one of the two 12 hour shifts.
This 1728 people who can detain suspected criminals for at least 30 minutes, on duty at any given time, are therefore responsible for 1.5 million
people in Winter, and 8 million in Summer.
That is 868 people per available officer in Winter, and 4629 people per officer in Summer.
I then wondered about stats showing police per population by country, and was disappointed to find the standard universal benchmark appears to relate
to police personnel per 100,000
, finding that the UK
came at 262 per 100,000 of population, I decided to compare it with the figures of actual detaining officers available on the streets in my area using
the published officer numbers and my imaginary 12 hour shift pattern:
In Winter, 115.2 officers available per 100,000 population
In Summer, 21.6 officers available per 100,000 population.
That is a much more realistic figure of the potential number of officers, and if you bring a 3 shift system in, with sickness and holidays then the
figure is much lower in reality.
I was surprised after doing the maths for my area that we have such a low crime situation, even when living in the 'roughest' areas of our major
population centers (Plymouth/Devonport, Torbay, Exeter) we really don't have the burnt out cars on our housing estates, or the off-licence beer stores
with a hatch where you have to put the cash in before getting the product, as I've experienced in other parts of the UK.
Here's the most recent chart I could find from December 2013 (www.hmic.gov.uk...
) and my police area is the yellow
I'm quite happy with that, but with the obviously tiny levels of available officers in the Summer, I do wonder why we have such an low average level
of crime over the year. We're actually just as skint as the rest of the UK, and in some areas we are at the levels of inner cities, so is it just
because the environment is nice that it's safer here? It certainly isn't because of oppressive police control as some might claim, the numbers of cops
couldn't stop a riot without help from the rest of the UK for sure...I've even helped the odd cop out here over the years because he was losing, yet
doing the right thing to help us, the public.
Are our cops in Devon & Cornwall more chilled because they are are outnumbered in a big way? Or are they just as chilled as everyone else living in a
chilled out part of the UK? In my anecdotal experience they generally use friendly interaction as a first tool, with the baton only being drawn if you
are an aggressive prick. They turn a sensible policing eye to certain things that harm no-one else or cause public order issues, and they have taken
most of my friends son's ,and my own son, home (after catching them red handed for something) without wanting to pursue even a formally recorded
caution, solely to protect their future job prospects.
I read so much about horrible police on ATS that I thought I'd share my own experiences, and then investigated stats on the few people in uniform who
are available here at any given time to prevent crime.
Please share your own thoughts if you're interested, and especially regarding crime rate and police numbers.
Is it about enforcement, or environment, or both?
*Apologies in advance if I do not reply to any questions tonight, but it's proper late for my real-world head right now so I may go Zzz at any
...but thanks in advance for any interesting responses though
edit on 16-7-2014 by grainofsand because: Typo