The Home Office collects and publishes data annually on the roles of police officers, police staff and police community support officers (PCSOs), including the number of full time equivalents primarily employed in ‘support function’ roles. Those with multiple responsibilities or designations are recorded under their primary function. Therefore, the data does not provide a complete picture of all officers and staff assigned to support function roles.
The Home Office only collects these data at Police Force Area level. This information can be found in the data tables published alongside the annual ‘Police workforce, England and Wales’ statistical bulletin.
The latest data available, which show the picture as at 31 March 2017, can be found in Tables F1 (officers), F2 (staff) and F3 (PCSOs) of the police workforce statistics published in July 2017: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/629865/police-workforce-tabs-jul17.ods
Data as at 31 March 2015 and 31 March 2016 can be found in Tables F1-F6 of the police workforce statistics published in July 2016: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/544954/police-workforce-tabs-jul16.ods
Previous data were collected under a different framework, with different definitions, and are therefore not directly comparable with data as at 31 March 2015 onwards. Data under the old framework have been published since 2012, and can be found in the supplementary data tables of the relevant police workforce publications via the following link:
Police functions data are often affected by re-structuring within police forces. Therefore, comparisons over time for specific functions should be made with care.
Decisions on the size and composition of the police workforce are operational matters for Chief Officers working with their Police and Crime Commissioners and taking into account local priorities.