§ Mr. Waterson
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers there were in Sussex in(a) May 1997 and (b) May 1999. 
§ Mr. Boateng
Information on police numbers is collected twice a year, in March and September. The information available is set out in the table:
Date Number of officers 31 March 1997 3,085 31 March 1999 2,847
The number of police officers in each force is a matter for local determination by the chief constable and the police authority. It is for chief officers to decide on the 399W balance between numbers of police officers and civilian support staff. The Sussex Police increased civilian numbers by 244 between March 1997 and March 1999.