Cambridgeshire Police has seen officer numbers increase by 3.6 per cent in the year until 30 September 2021, but questions remain around pay and retention.

Federation branch chair Liz Groom welcomed the progress made with the Government Uplift Programme to date, which should bring a total increase of 206 officers in the Force by by March 2023.

She said: “We all remember the disaster that was the austerity years, which saw savage cuts to policing and made an already incredibly difficult and stressful job that much harder. It is a relief, frankly, to see recruitment rising – it feels long overdue – but let’s not forget we’re just getting back to where we were.”

Liz pointed out that the population of England and Wales had risen from 55.6 million in 2010 to 59.5 million today, meaning police officers are now having to protect and serve at least 4 million more members of the public.

In addition, the level of crime has increased and become more complex.

She added: “We must go further with recruitment and ensure we are retaining experienced and talented officers, not allowing them to break and then losing them. This can only be achieved with good pay and conditions, welfare and support.”

Liz was speaking after the Home Office published its quarterly uplift statistics last week which revealed there were 139,939 officers in England and Wales as of 31 December 2021 – an increase of 11,505 officers.

In all, 11,048 have been recruited through the Police Uplift Programme so far as part of the Government’s pledge of recruiting 20,000 more officers by March 2023. If the target is achieved, it would bring officer numbers up to around 148,000, which is slightly above the number of officers in 2010.

The Federation’s interim national chair, Ché Donald, said: “Police leaders must ensure they don’t just focus on getting people through the door, but also do what is needed to retain them, such fair pay processes, investment in wellbeing and better benefits, as retention is still a problem across the service.”