Norfolk police boosts number of female officers, figures reveal

Police recruits

Norfolk police hired almost as many women as men last year. - Credit: Norfolk Constabulary

Almost half of new Norfolk police officers recruited last year were women, statistics on officer numbers have revealed.

It comes as Norfolk’s police and crime commissioner said the force must move away from a laddish culture to restore the public’s trust in the wake of the Sarah Everard murder.

A female police officer was hit when a driver failed to stop

The gender balance of rank and file police officers in Norfolk is changing.

Nationally, 11,053 officers have been hired as part of the government’s police uplift programme, and the Home Office said it's now more than half of the way to meeting its target of 20,000 additional officers by March 2023. 

In Norfolk, there are now 1,857 police officers in the county as of September 30 - an increase of 180 against the adjusted baseline figure against which the uplift programme is measured.

Andy Symonds, chairman of Norfolk Police Federation.

Andy Symonds, chairman of Norfolk Police Federation. - Credit: MartisMedia

However Andy Symonds, chairman of Norfolk Police Federation, said the new recruits should not be seen as extra officers on the streets.

“We’ve lost 21,000 cops and a significant number of police staff since 2010. So these 11,053 only get us halfway back to where we were in 2010,” he said. 

The Home Office said an increasing number of women are signing up to join the police, with female officers accounting for 45pc (1,451) of all new recruits between July and September 2021.

While just 622 of Norfolk officers (33pc) are women, the gender balance of rank and file officers in the county is changing.

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The new figures show 44pc of new recruits in the past 12 months were female - 104 compared to 135 men.

A female police officer on road traffic duty.

A female police officer on road traffic duty. - Credit: Getty Images

Neighbouring Suffolk police was one of eight forces across the UK who hired more women than men last year.

More Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) officers were employed than at any other time in the country’s history, the Home Office added. 

A spokesman for Norfolk Constabulary said: “We welcome the recruitment of an additional 180 officers through the uplift programme. More women than ever before in Norfolk are now joining the service and that’s really pleasing to see. 

“We know we have some work to do to improve recruitment from BAME communities and we’re committed to increasing equality and diversity in our police force. 

“We would take this opportunity to encourage people from all backgrounds, particularly those under represented within the constabulary, to get in touch and find out what a career in policing has to offer.”