Many of your readers will have welcomed the news that funding provision has been made for an additional 75 police officers in Hampshire, increasing the total of extra officers funded since March 2020 to 725 (Chronicle, February 1).

One person who appears to be excited about the increase in police numbers, both at the local level and nationally, is the Tory candidate for Winchester at the next general election who has highlighted the figures in her early campaign literature.  But, despite the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC)'s additional officers Hampshire Constabulary has fewer officers today than it did in 2010.

Home Office statistics show that on March 31 2010 there were 3,748 full time equivalent (FTE) officers in Hampshire.  Under the Tory-led governments from 2010 to 2019 the number of officers in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight was cut to under 2,700 as part of nationwide cuts.   The current government's police uplift programme has only partly reversed that reduction.  As of September 30 2023 there were 3,362 FTE police officers, some 10 per cent fewer than in 2010. 

Moreover, the current position in Hampshire does not compare favourably with the rest of England.  For the country as a whole FTE police officer numbers recovered to an all time high in March 2023.  They fell again slightly in the following six months but remained a little over the level achieved in 2010.

The PCC can be excused for not mentioning this.  She did not preside over the deep cuts to police numbers in the county between 2010-19 and has made progress in meeting the public's desire for more officers on the streets.  But Mrs Drummond was MP for Portsmouth South between 2015-17 and an unquestioning supporter of the government when police numbers were falling.

I do not recall her speaking out then against the cuts in Hampshire.  Her failure to put the recent trend into context causes me, at least, to question her other electioneering claims.

Martin Holmes,

Culverwell Gardens,


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