Police workforce

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1. Main facts and figures

  • as at 31 March 2017, 93.7% of police officers were White (including White ethnic minorities), and 6.3% came from all other ethnic groups
  • between 2007 and 2017, the percentage of police officers from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups combined increased from 3.9% to 6.3%
  • as at 31 March 2017, 3.7% of officers in senior ranks were from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups combined, compared with 2.8% in 2007
  • in the population of England and Wales as a whole, 86% of people were White (including White ethnic minorities), and 14% were from all other ethnic groups, according to population data from the 2011 Census
Things you need to know

The police workforce comprises police officers of all ranks, police community support officers (PCSOs), designated officers, traffic wardens and staff in other roles (referred to in charts and tables as ‘police staff’).

This data focuses initially on police officers, and widens to include the whole workforce.

Figures for the police workforce, including police officers, are based on full-time equivalent (FTE) staff numbers – for example, someone who works 2.5 days a week is counted as 0.5 FTE.

Although the data includes traffic wardens, very few remain in the police workforce following the transfer of this duty to local authorities.

Separately, figures are also presented for special constables – members of the public who volunteer to help the police – although they are not counted as part of the police workforce. Special constable figures are based on a ‘headcount’ – the total number of people in that role, regardless of whether they work part-time or full-time.

Data is derived from the personnel records for the 43 police forces in England and Wales, and the British Transport Police.

Population estimates are based on the 2011 Census (the latest available figures). It is likely that there have been some population changes since 2011 that aren't accounted for in this data. For that reason, these figures should be considered estimates only.

Since the British Transport Police covers all of England and Wales, a rate per population per region has not been calculated. Similarly, the City of London Police serves a very large daytime population compared with its number of residents, so it is not meaningful to show a rate per population for this force.

The percentages given here are based only on those whose ethnicity is known. Ethnicity isn’t known for 2% of police officers, 3% of the total police workforce, and 7% of special constables. Numbers of staff with unknown ethnicity are included in the tables for reference.

What the data measures

This data measures the percentage of the police workforce coming from the Asian, Black, Mixed, White and Other ethnic groups, and compares it with overall population statistics.

The data is a snapshot taken at 31 March each year.

The data focuses initially on police officers.

Later, figures are shown for the entire police workforce, including:

  • police community support officers (PCSOs) – paid staff who work with police officers and have some police powers, like the power to give somebody a fixed-penalty notice for littering
  • designated officers – paid staff working in specific roles like detention officers and investigation officers
  • traffic wardens - very few of these remain in the police workforce as traffic warden duties are almost entirely transferred to local authorities
  • staff in other roles, referred to in the charts and tables as ‘police staff’ – these are usually civilian roles that don’t require any specific police powers

In addition, data is presented separately for special constables, who are members of the public who volunteer to help the police. Special constables have the same powers as police officers, but are unpaid and not counted in the police workforce statistics.

The ethnic categories used in this data

Staff working for the police in England and Wales report their own ethnicity based on the following 5 broad groups:

  • Asian/Asian British
  • Black/African/Caribbean/Black British
  • Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups
  • White (including White ethnic minority groups)
  • Other ethnic group (including Chinese)

2. Police officers by ethnicity

Percentage and number of police officers, and percentage of the overall population (at 2011 Census), by ethnicity
Ethnicity % of police officers % of population (2011) Number of police officers
Asian 2.6 6.8 3,104
Black 1.2 3.3 1,432
Mixed 1.8 2.2 2,185
White 93.7 86.0 112,954
Other 0.7 1.7 851
Unknown N/A* N/A* 2,616

Download table data for ‘Police officers by ethnicity’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Police officers by ethnicity’ (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • as at March 2017, the equivalent of 123,142 full-time police officers were employed in the 43 police forces in England and Wales (excluding the British Transport Police), and 112,954 (93.7%) of those were from the White ethnic group

  • Black people made up 1.2% of police officers, Asian people made up 2.6%, those of Mixed ethnicity made up 1.8%, and 0.7% of officers were from the Other ethnic group (including Chinese officers)

3. Police officers by ethnicity over time

Percentage and number of police officers by ethnicity over time
Asian Black Mixed White Other Unknown
Year Asian % of police officers Asian Number of police officers Black % of police officers Black Number of police officers Mixed % of police officers Mixed Number of police officers White % of police officers White Number of police officers Other % of police officers Other Number of police officers Unknown % of police officers Unknown Number of police officers
2007 1.5 2,111 1.0 1,350 1.0 1,419 96.1 134,372 0.5 632 N/A* 1,999
2008 1.6 2,231 1.0 1,371 1.1 1,525 95.9 134,000 0.5 656 N/A* 1,920
2009 1.7 2,472 1.0 1,427 1.2 1,699 95.6 135,651 0.5 689 N/A* 1,839
2010 1.8 2,607 1.0 1,446 1.3 1,844 95.3 135,293 0.5 745 N/A* 1,799
2011 1.9 2,582 1.0 1,442 1.3 1,838 95.2 130,870 0.5 754 N/A* 1,625
2012 2.0 2,607 1.1 1,420 1.4 1,871 95.0 125,579 0.6 766 N/A* 1,858
2013 2.0 2,563 1.1 1,361 1.5 1,865 94.9 121,086 0.6 749 N/A* 1,961
2014 2.1 2,665 1.1 1,352 1.5 1,922 94.7 119,071 0.6 776 N/A* 2,124
2015 2.2 2,795 1.1 1,373 1.6 2,028 94.4 117,757 0.6 785 N/A* 2,079
2016 2.4 2,881 1.2 1,433 1.7 2,096 94.1 114,437 0.7 808 N/A* 2,411
2017 2.6 3,104 1.2 1,432 1.8 2,185 93.7 112,954 0.7 851 N/A* 2,616

Download table data for ‘Police officers by ethnicity over time ’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Police officers by ethnicity over time ’ (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • between 2007 and 2017, the percentage of police officers from each of the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups increased

  • the percentage of Asian police officers increased from 1.5% in 2007 to 2.6% in 2017 – the increase in Asian police officers was the largest out of all ethnic groups, in both percentage and numerical terms (at 1.1 percentage points and 993 officers)

4. Police officers by ethnicity and area

Percentage of police officers, and percentage of the overall population (at 2011 Census), by ethnicity and police force area
Asian Black Mixed White Other Unknown
Police force area Asian % officers Asian % Population Asian Number of police officers Black % officers Black % Population Black Number of police officers Mixed % officers Mixed % Population Mixed Number of police officers White % officers White % Population White Number of police officers Other % officers Other % Population Other Number of police officers Unknown % officers Unknown % Population Unknown Number of police officers
All - excluding BTP 2.6 6.8 3,104 1.2 3.3 1,432 1.8 2.2 2,185 93.7 86.0 112,954 0.7 1.7 851 N/A* N/A* 2,616
Avon & Somerset 0.3 2.1 8 0.3 1.9 8 1.8 1.8 44 97.2 93.3 2,331 0.3 1.0 7 N/A* N/A* 270
Bedfordshire 4.8 13.2 53 1.4 4.8 15 2.5 3.0 28 91.2 77.5 1,006 0.1 1.4 1 N/A* N/A* 16
British Transport Police 4.2 N/A* 108 2.6 N/A* 68 2.7 N/A* 70 90.0 N/A* 2,330 0.5 N/A* 14 N/A* N/A* 89
Cambridgeshire 1.1 4.9 14 0.2 1.3 3 1.3 2.0 17 97.2 90.3 1,292 0.2 1.6 3 N/A* N/A* 17
Cheshire 0.4 1.2 8 0.2 0.3 4 0.8 1.0 15 98.6 96.9 1,912 0.0 0.5 not collected N/A* N/A* 69
Cleveland 1.3 3.1 16 0.1 0.6 1 0.3 1.0 4 98.2 94.5 1,238 0.1 0.8 1 N/A* N/A* 22
Cumbria 0.4 0.6 4 0.2 0.1 2 0.4 0.5 4 99.0 98.5 1,095 0.1 0.3 1 N/A* N/A* 6
Derbyshire 2.4 3.6 41 0.3 1.0 4 0.8 1.4 13 96.4 93.3 1,647 0.2 0.7 3 N/A* N/A* 2
Devon & Cornwall 0.2 0.7 4 0.2 0.2 5 0.9 0.9 21 98.5 97.5 2,252 0.2 0.6 5 N/A* N/A* 628
Dorset 0.2 1.4 3 0.2 0.4 2 0.9 1.3 12 98.6 96.0 1,209 0.1 0.8 1 N/A* N/A* 39
Durham 0.6 0.8 7 0.1 0.2 1 1.0 0.7 11 98.2 97.8 1,122 0.1 0.5 1 N/A* N/A* 2
Dyfed-Powys 0.2 0.8 2 0.1 0.2 1 0.5 0.6 5 99.1 98.0 1,013 0.1 0.4 1 N/A* N/A* 138
Essex 0.3 2.3 8 0.2 2.0 5 1.5 1.6 42 97.9 93.2 2,751 0.2 0.9 5 N/A* N/A* 8
Gloucestershire 0.6 1.8 6 0.4 0.9 4 1.0 1.5 11 97.6 95.4 1,036 0.4 0.5 4 N/A* N/A* 28
Greater Manchester 2.9 9.2 182 0.6 2.8 36 1.9 2.3 120 94.0 83.8 5,941 0.6 2.0 39 N/A* N/A* not collected
Gwent 0.8 1.7 9 0.5 0.6 6 0.7 1.0 8 97.8 96.1 1,131 0.2 0.6 2 N/A* N/A* 22
Hampshire 1.0 3.0 28 0.2 0.9 6 1.3 1.6 35 97.0 93.3 2,689 0.5 1.1 14 N/A* N/A* 125
Hertfordshire 1.7 5.7 34 0.7 2.8 13 1.8 2.5 35 95.8 87.6 1,855 0.1 1.4 1 N/A* N/A* 16
Humberside 0.4 1.3 6 0.4 0.5 6 0.6 0.9 10 98.6 96.5 1,589 0.0 0.8 not collected N/A* N/A* 30
Kent 1.2 3.1 39 0.2 1.3 5 1.5 1.6 47 97.0 93.1 3,127 0.2 0.9 8 N/A* N/A* 33
Lancashire 2.2 7.4 60 0.1 0.4 3 1.7 1.1 46 95.8 90.4 2,598 0.2 0.7 5 N/A* N/A* 138
Leicestershire 4.9 15.3 87 0.7 2.4 13 2.0 2.0 36 92.2 78.4 1,634 0.1 1.9 2 N/A* N/A* 31
Lincolnshire 0.5 0.8 5 0.6 0.4 6 1.0 0.9 11 97.9 97.6 1,043 0.0 0.4 not collected N/A* N/A* 22
London, City of 2.2 N/A* 15 1.6 N/A* 11 1.8 N/A* 12 94.2 N/A* 643 0.3 N/A* 2 N/A* N/A* 2
Merseyside 0.3 1.4 12 0.6 1.1 20 1.9 1.5 68 96.6 94.5 3,388 0.5 1.6 18 N/A* N/A* 32
Metropolitan Police 5.2 17.0 1,636 3.2 13.3 998 3.0 5.0 956 86.6 59.8 27,181 2.0 5.0 623 N/A* N/A* 122
Norfolk 0.2 1.1 3 0.5 0.5 7 0.9 1.2 13 98.2 96.5 1,478 0.2 0.6 3 N/A* N/A* 11
North Wales 0.2 0.9 3 0.1 0.2 1 0.6 0.7 8 99.0 97.5 1,411 0.1 0.6 2 N/A* N/A* 16
North Yorkshire 0.4 1.2 5 0.0 0.5 not collected 0.9 0.9 12 98.8 96.6 1,357 0.0 0.8 not collected N/A* N/A* 4
Northamptonshire 1.0 3.3 11 1.3 2.4 14 1.3 2.0 14 96.3 91.5 1,101 0.2 0.8 2 N/A* N/A* 44
Northumbria 0.5 2.7 15 0.2 0.6 5 1.0 0.9 32 98.3 94.6 3,161 0.1 1.3 4 N/A* N/A* 72
Nottinghamshire 2.1 4.4 39 0.9 2.5 16 1.4 2.8 25 95.4 88.8 1,747 0.2 1.4 3 N/A* N/A* 7
South Wales 0.6 2.8 16 0.2 1.0 5 1.2 1.4 35 97.8 93.4 2,825 0.2 1.5 7 N/A* N/A* 20
South Yorkshire 1.9 4.1 47 0.6 1.9 15 1.0 1.5 24 96.4 90.6 2,385 0.1 1.8 3 N/A* N/A* 11
Staffordshire 0.8 3.2 14 0.5 0.8 8 0.7 1.3 12 98.0 94.1 1,586 0.0 0.7 not collected N/A* N/A* 6
Suffolk 0.1 1.5 1 0.3 0.9 3 2.2 1.7 24 97.3 95.2 1,057 0.1 0.6 1 N/A* N/A* 15
Surrey 1.2 4.8 20 0.5 1.1 8 1.9 2.1 31 95.8 90.4 1,599 0.6 1.7 11 N/A* N/A* 317
Sussex 0.2 2.5 6 0.2 0.9 4 1.0 1.9 25 98.1 93.7 2,444 0.5 1.0 13 N/A* N/A* 95
Thames Valley 1.6 8.5 66 0.7 3.0 28 2.2 2.5 89 95.1 84.6 3,851 0.4 1.4 17 N/A* N/A* 45
Warwickshire 3.9 4.2 32 0.1 0.8 1 0.7 1.5 6 94.8 92.7 776 0.4 0.9 4 N/A* N/A* 17
West Mercia 1.0 1.8 20 0.3 0.4 6 1.0 1.1 20 97.5 96.2 1,984 0.3 0.5 6 N/A* N/A* 20
West Midlands 5.6 18.0 371 1.5 6.0 100 2.0 3.5 134 90.7 70.1 6,044 0.2 2.3 14 N/A* N/A* 93
West Yorkshire 3.1 12.6 146 0.6 2.1 30 1.3 2.2 63 94.6 81.8 4,458 0.3 1.4 15 N/A* N/A* 8
Wiltshire 0.4 2.6 4 0.3 0.9 3 0.7 1.4 7 98.5 94.5 966 0.1 0.6 1 N/A* N/A* 2

Download table data for ‘Police officers by ethnicity and area’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Police officers by ethnicity and area’ (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • of the 43 police forces, the Metropolitan police in London had the highest percentage of police officers from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups combined – 13.4% in total
  • the higher percentage of police officers from these ethnic groups in London partly reflects the city’s population as a whole – 40.2% of people in London come from Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups, the largest percentage for any area of England and Wales
  • in the West Midlands, 9.3% of police officers came from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups combined, compared with 29.9% of the overall population in the region who came from the same groups
  • in Bedfordshire, 8.8% of police officers came from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups combined, compared with 22.5% of the overall population in the region who came from the same groups
  • police forces in Dyfed-Powys, North Wales and Cumbria had the smallest percentage of officers from an Asian, Black, Mixed or Other background (at 0.9%, 1.0% and 1.0% respectively), which are broadly in line with figures for the overall population

5. Police officers by ethnicity and rank over time

Percentage and number of police officers by ethnicity and rank (2007 and 2017)
Chief Officer Chief Superintendent Superintendent Chief Inspector Inspector Sergeant Constable
Ethnicity Chief Officer % 2007 Chief Officer Number 2007 Chief Officer % 2017 Chief Officer Number 2017 Chief Superintendent % 2007 Chief Superintendent Number 2007 Chief Superintendent % 2017 Chief Superintendent Number 2017 Superintendent % 2007 Superintendent Number 2007 Superintendent % 2017 Superintendent Number 2017 Chief Inspector % 2007 Chief Inspector Number 2007 Chief Inspector % 2017 Chief Inspector Number 2017 Inspector % 2007 Inspector Number 2007 Inspector % 2017 Inspector Number 2017 Sergeant % 2007 Sergeant Number 2007 Sergeant % 2017 Sergeant Number 2017 Constable % 2007 Constable Number 2007 Constable % 2017 Constable Number 2017
Asian 2.0 4 1.0 2 1.3 6 2.5 8 1.0 10 1.7 15 1.0 18 1.3 21 1.0 72 1.7 94 1.1 235 1.8 330 1.6 1,766 2.8 2,635
Black 0.5 1 1.0 2 0.6 3 1.9 6 0.8 8 0.7 6 0.5 10 0.6 10 0.5 36 0.8 42 0.8 179 0.9 166 1.0 1,113 1.3 1,200
Mixed 1.0 2 0.0 0 0.6 3 1.3 4 0.5 5 1.6 14 1.2 22 1.1 18 0.7 49 1.1 61 0.7 162 1.4 251 1.1 1,176 2.0 1,837
White 96.6 196 98.0 193 97.2 456 94.0 299 97.4 954 95.8 839 97.2 1,778 96.9 1,538 97.5 6,790 95.9 5,221 97.0 21,026 95.5 17,618 95.7 103,172 93.2 87,246
Other 0.0 0 0.0 0 0.2 1 0.3 1 0.2 2 0.2 2 0.1 2 0.0 0 0.2 16 0.4 24 0.3 65 0.5 83 0.5 546 0.8 741
Unknown N/A* 3 N/A* 12 N/A* 0 N/A* 5 N/A* 8 N/A* 16 N/A* 18 N/A* 21 N/A* 69 N/A* 80 N/A* 283 N/A* 301 N/A* 1,618 N/A* 2,181

Download table data for ‘Police officers by ethnicity and rank over time’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Police officers by ethnicity and rank over time’ (CSV)

Summary

Senior officers include those in the following ranks:

  • Chief Officer
  • Chief Superintendent
  • Superintendent
  • Chief Inspector

This data shows that:

  • as at 31 March 2017, there was a lower percentage of officers from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups combined in senior ranks (3.7%) than in the constable rank (6.8%)

  • between 2007 and 2013, the percentage of senior officers from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups combined increased from 2.8% to 3.9% but remained fairly stable between 2014 and 2017

  • between 2007 and 2017, there was a steady increase in the percentage of constables from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups combined, from 4.3% to 6.8%

6. Police officers by ethnicity and gender

Number and percentage of police officers by ethnicity and gender (2007 and 2017)
Female Male
Ethnicity Female Number 2007 Female % 2007 Female Number 2017 Female % 2017 Male Number 2007 Male % 2007 Male Number 2017 Male % 2017
Asian 402 1.2 635 1.8 1,709 1.6 2,470 2.9
Black 359 1.1 393 1.1 991 0.9 1,039 1.2
Mixed 393 1.2 625 1.8 1,026 1.0 1,560 1.8
White 31,463 96.1 33,333 94.7 102,909 96.1 79,621 93.3
Other 130 0.4 211 0.6 502 0.5 641 0.8
Unknown 371 N/A* 648 N/A* 1,628 N/A* 1,969 N/A*

Download table data for ‘Police officers by ethnicity and gender’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Police officers by ethnicity and gender’ (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • as at March 2017, there was a higher percentage of male police officers from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups combined (6.7%) than female police officers from the same ethnic groups (5.3%)

  • between 2007 and 2017, the percentage of male police officers from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups combined increased slightly faster than the percentage of female police officers from the same ethnic groups

7. Police workforce by ethnicity and role

Percentage and number of people in the police workforce, by ethnicity and role
Police Officer Police Staff Community support officer Designated Officer Traffic Warden
Ethnicity Police Officer % Police Officer Number (FTE) of staff Police Staff % Police Staff Number (FTE) of staff Community support officer % Community support officer Number (FTE) of staff Designated Officer % Designated Officer Number (FTE) of staff Traffic Warden % Traffic Warden Number (FTE) of staff
Asian 2.6 3,104 3.1 1,825 4.0 400 2.6 106 0.0 not collected
Black 1.2 1,432 2.2 1,266 2.9 284 2.8 114 0.0 not collected
Mixed 1.8 2,185 1.0 570 1.5 146 1.4 57 0.0 not collected
White 93.7 112,954 93.1 53,991 90.4 8,974 92.3 3,708 100.0 11
Other 0.7 851 0.6 368 1.2 118 0.8 32 0.0 not collected
Unknown N/A* 2,616 N/A* 3,043 N/A* 290 N/A* 237 N/A* not collected

Download table data for ‘Police workforce by ethnicity and role’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Police workforce by ethnicity and role’ (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • as at March 2017, the percentage of people from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups combined working as police officers was lower than in other roles within the police workforce
  • 9.6% of police community support officers were from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups combined, the highest percentage for any role within the police workforce

8. Special constables by ethnicity

Percentage and number of special constables, and percentage of the overall population (at Census 2011), by ethnicity
Ethnicity % % of population (2011) Number (Headcount) of Special Constables
Asian 6.2 6.8 784
Black 1.8 3.3 230
Mixed 2.1 2.2 261
White 88.5 86.0 11,112
Other 1.3 1.7 169
Unknown N/A* N/A* 947

Download table data for ‘Special constables by ethnicity’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Special constables by ethnicity’ (CSV)

Summary

Special constables are unpaid volunteers, and therefore not counted as part of the workforce. These figures are based on a headcount (the total number of people working in the role, regardless of whether they are part-time or full-time).

This data shows that:

  • 11.5% of special constables came from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups, compared with 14.0% of the population in England and Wales
  • while it is not strictly possible to compare data based on headcounts with full-time equivalents, special constables were more ethnically diverse than police officers and others in the police workforce

9. Methodology

Data is collected from each of the 43 police forces in England and Wales, and the British Transport Police.

Police staff report their own ethnicity from a list of 5 options.

Police forces keep records of all their staff on human resources and payroll systems. Data is quality assured by the Home Office and confirmed by police forces before publication.

Rounding

Percentages are rounded to 1 decimal point.

Quality and methodology information

10. Data sources

Source

Type of data

Administrative data

Type of statistic

National Statistics

Publisher

Home Office

Publication frequency

Yearly

Purpose of data source

Ethnicity and gender data is used by police forces as part of diversity monitoring schemes.

11. Download the data

Police Workforce - Detailed Officer/ Rank - Spreadsheet (csv) 31 MB

Due to the size of the data, this download has been split into two files: This file contains the following: ethnicity, year, Detailed Officer/Rank, police force area, FTE, headcount, rate, proportion

Police Workforce - Aggregate Officer/rank - Spreadsheet (csv) 10 MB

Due to the size of the data, this download has been split into two files: This file contains the following: ethnicity, year, Aggregate Officer/rank, police force area, FTE, headcount, rate, proportion