HC Deb 12 April 2000 vol 348 c236W
Miss Widdecombe

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 6 April 2000,Official Report, column 596W, and his answer to the hon. Member for Coventry, South (Mr. Cunningham) of 27 March 2000, Official Report, columns 1-3W, and to the hon. Member for Elmet (Mr. Burgon) of 9 February 2000, Official Report, column 172W, what estimate he has made of the change in police numbers in England and Wales between April 2002 and March 2003 following his announcement that the extra recruits under the Crime Fighting Fund will be recruited over two years rather than three; what number of police officers he plans to recruit in England and Wales in the three years to March 2003; and what are his revised estimates of the total number of police officers in England and Wales over each of the next three years. [118805]

Mr. Straw

The additional funding announced in the Budget will allow us to provide for completing the recruitment of the 5,000 officers allocated under the Crime Fighting Fund by March 2002. It will allow for the recruitment of at least 2,000 in 2000–01 and 3,000 (or the remainder) in 2001–02. This means that the theoretical projections of police numbers, based on forces' estimates for recruitment and wastage, for the next two years are as follows:

  • March 2001—125,500
  • March 2002—127,000.

The March 2002 projection approximates to the 1997 figure of 127,158.

On the basis of projections made earlier this year alone, the theoretical figure for March 2003 would be 125,900, as cited in the reply given by the Minister of State, Home Office, my hon. Friend the Member for Norwich, South (Mr. Clarke) to the hon. Member for Southwark, North and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes) on 15 March 2000, Official Report, columns 177-79W. Chief Officers projections were made on the basis of the Compensation Spending Review settlement which extends to 2001–02, but in the absence of any information about funding levels for the police service in 2002–03. Funding levels from 2002–03 onwards will be known only when the outcome of the 2000 Spending Review is announced in the summer, when more realistic projections can be made.

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