Theresa May has proposed a set of police budget cuts that are particularly controversial for police services across England. This has also come at a time when there is doubt about her choice of Tom Winsor as upcoming HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary. The Home Office, with their emphasis on budget cuts, is planning a significant reduction in frontline police officers over the course of three years. This would mean that the front line police forces will be diminished by 5,800 officers.
According to reports a startling number of jobs have already been done away with, beginning in 2010. A total of 17,600 jobs in the police force have been culled to save a grand total of £749 million. Put in context this means that with 32,400 officers remaining, the proposed budget cuts would mean almost halving the number of uniformed officers, as well as jobs held by civilian staff.
The current survey released by the Home Office sets the possible layoffs as much higher than previously anticipated, but it does not include the Met or Cheshire forces which are the largest in England. Reports from these areas can be expected in coming years.
The effects of these budget cuts cannot be fully anticipated. What is known is that many police stations, a fifth, 264, are to close their front counters. This means that the public will no longer have access to many police stations, rather points of public access are to be set up in libraries and supermarkets. The big fear that has emerged from the discussion of budget cuts is the possibility of a resurgence of the riots we saw last year.
The response of the police has been strongly criticised, and some have argued that very little has changed between last August and now. With the seemingly inevitable reduction in police jobs, how will a diminished police force cope with a new season of riots, which some think are bound to happen. The key problem last August was that the implementation of a mixed force response seemed not to happen.
Reading The Riots
This information comes from Reading the Riots, a comprehensive academic study of what happened and why. The report is in two parts: the first was a study of testimony and interviews from 270 rioters, and the second was a study of interviews given by ‘victims’ of the riots and lawyers who took part in dealing with the consequences of the riots.
While police discount a great deal of the criticism levelled against them, they do acknowledge that the speed with which the riots gathered force, and the scale they reached, made it very difficult for the police to contain the riots.
On a more positive note, the Home Office survey also claims that the crime rate has dropped. While front line or local policing has changed in recent years, the change, it seems, has been for the better.
What does this mean for people looking to Join the Police as an Officer in 2012?
Despite the cuts the last few years saw the police clear a backlog of applications forms meaning they are now in the position to start recruiting again. We have already seen a number of forces in 2012 recruit for the position of police officer but in a way which is very much different to before:
1) They now have very selective recruitment periods often lasting for a day or 2 rather than weeks, which was the previous situation.
2) The number of police officer jobs are very limited so competition for places is very fierce. So it is more important than ever to stand out from the rest of the applicants.
Top Tips for getting a Job in 2012
To ensure you gain the edge in 2012 we would recommend that you sign up for our job alerts service so that you get notified as soon as the police are recruiting. The last thing you want to happen is you miss the window of opportunity as jobs come and go very quickly.
The next tip would be to ensure you practice, practice, practice for each stage. Failure at any stage means you need to wait 6 months before you can apply again and thats once the position opens up again so it could be up to a year. Preparation includes the application form stage where the majority of candidates fail, through to the testing stage and the final interview. Use our police career kit to ensure you have everything covered.