HC Deb 25 February 2002 vol 380 cc907-8W
Mr. Paice

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 16 November 2001,Official Report, columns 963-64W, on police resignations; if he will make a statement reconciling the figures for resignations in 1996–97 with the figures given in a previous answer to my Friend the right hon. Member for Maidstone and The Weald (Miss Widdecombe) of 11 December 2000, Official Report, column 64W (UIN: 41401). [17257]

Mr. Denham

The figures for total police wastage and police resignations given in the answer to the right hon. Member for Maidstone and The Weald (Miss Widdecombe) of 11 December 2000,Official Report, column 64W, were those collected by the Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate (RDS) and published as Police Personnel Statistics. For the purpose of these statistics, wastage is collected on a headcount basis (ie the number of persons) in the following categories: retirements, resignations and other. Other wastage includes officers transferring to forces outside England and Wales, but not those transferring to forces within England and Wales.

In addition to the information collected by RDS, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) collects information annually about wastage from the police service broken down into the following categories:

  • Dismissals from force (including requirements to resign)
  • Voluntary resignations
  • Medical retirements
  • Ordinary retirements
  • Transfers from force
  • Deaths.

Forces are asked to provide these figures on a full-time equivalent basis, not on a headcount basis. The HMIC category "Transfers from force" includes transfers to any other force.

There is no specific category of resignation for medical reasons. If an officer is permanently disabled for police duties there is provision for retirement on ill-health grounds. The number of such medical retirements is recorded in the HMIC statistics. In the circumstances the answer of 16 November 2001, Official Report, column 963W showed the number of medical retirements and the number of officers who left the police service for other reasons—ordinary retirements, dismissals including requirements to resign, and voluntary resignations.

As the two sets of statistics collected by RDS and HMIC are gathered on a different basis, they cannot be reconciled directly with one another. We are aware of the inconsistent basis between the two sets of figures and established a task force to consider these issues. The task force report was issued for consultation on 18 December 2001. The report of the task force proposes a comprehensive revision to the current requirements on police personnel statistics. Following consultation with the police service we will implement the necessary changes from September 2002.