Sussex police officer numbers – the truth?

Sussex Police - funding should be spent to the benefit residents, not on political whims

Another week passes and there is another newsletter from our PCC Katy Bourne as well as numerous media releases regarding the numbers of police officers being recruited in Sussex and their gender and racial background.

Over the past months and years, there has been considerable political rhetoric spouted by our mainly Conservative politicians in Sussex as well as the staunchly Conservative Mrs Bourne regarding police office numbers in the county. All of this focuses on terms such as “more”, “increase”, “new”.

However, if like me you become confused with the various statistics published, because after all they are full of political “spin”, I am going to make things a lot easier for us all. I have obtained, direct from the director of people services for Sussex Police, the up-to-date picture as of 1 October 2021. There are 2,856 full-time equivalent police officer posts (in terms of actual numbers there are a few more than this because there are a number of part-time officers filling these posts).

By comparison, on 31 March 2010 there were a total of 3,197 police officers in Sussex which is the high point. Therefore by subtracting today’s number 2,856 from 3,197 we are left with a deficit of 341. That is 341 police officers FEWER than we had in 2010! You can therefore see why Conservative politicians are very reluctant to reveal these figures because it does not paint a very pleasant picture I would suggest! This is entirely due to the cuts imposed by Cameron and May and overseen by our very own Mrs Bourne.

Leaving aside the fact that police officers inevitably retire, in the past six months, 42 police officers have resigned from the force. Having looked at previous figures I can say that this is a fairly consistent picture. This possibly reflects that the demands of policing are too great for some or indeed possibly that the recruitment processes are not as good as they should be to identify the right recruits.

There is not enough space here for me to expand on the reasons for this. Suffice it to say that from 1 April to 1 October 2021, 87 full-time equivalent officers left Sussex Police in total (resignations, retirements, dismissals, ill health).

The total recruited in that period was 115. That is a net gain of just 28 officers. Whilst I am informed that a further 162 officers are to be recruited prior to the end of the financial year, 31 March 2022. I would suggest that is not a healthy picture.

As a former officer I want to see more police officers of course. However, I am also fed up with politicians and in particular, our PCC claiming that it is all good news – because it simply isn’t!

Image Credits: Unsplash http://www.unsplash.


  1. What isn’t good news is the reporting today in the national press of the misconduct of police officers in Sussex Police, including some based in Hastings. Whatever the true facts are about police numbers, the police have a huge task in front of them in restoring public confidence in the service or force or whatever the correct term is. I fully accept that it is a minority that is to blame, but I think the sanction in one reported case seems insufficient for the offence. The first thing that police management should ensure is, to quote, that the punishment fits the crime. It is hard for the public to support the police in the very difficult job they have to do if the public believes that serious misdemeanours are being covered up or not dealt with appropriately.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here