Only in the country with the least ‘work’ and the most police officers

Only BBC Scotland has headlined a story of police officers under pressure, yet only Scotland has less crime and more officers.

BBC England, Wales and Northern Ireland have no such report today.

Let’s look at the ‘work’ first.

While I feel sure there are other tasks un-connected with crime, the level of crime in a country must be the major factor in pressure on police officers. If it’s not, then perhaps the senior officers need to think about what they’re doing and how they’re doing it.

Recorded crime is lower in Scotland and much lower than in England & Wales. It has continued to fall even in the last decade which BBC Scotland wants to focus on.

Notably the BBC Scotland report says :

‘Recorded crime is said to be at its lowest level since 1974 and the latest statistics show that overall satisfaction following contact with the police stands at 69%.’

Why didn’t they present the actual figures and replace ‘said to be’ with ‘are?’

Are there fewer officers in line with falling ‘work?’

BBC Scotland claims:

Scotland now has 16,600 police officers, the lowest number since 2008 and roughly 900 fewer than when the national force came into being.

That’s a 5.4% fall in police staffing in the same decade as recorded crime also fell from 72.4 cases per 1 000 population to 52.4%, a 27.6% fall.

How does staffing compare with the other three nations?

We can use the House of Commons Library briefing to calculate a comparable metric on police officer numbers in 2020.

Police numbers (FTE) in 2020 (HoCL)125,2767,1916,91717,234
Population size (HoCL table)56,286,9003,152,900  
Population size (ONS mid 2019 estimate)56,286,9613,152,8791,893,6675,463,300
FTEs per 100,000223228365315

Hey! Scotland does have far more officers per head than England & Wales but Northern Ireland has more officers per head than Scotland!

Special circumstances?


3 thoughts on “Only in the country with the least ‘work’ and the most police officers

  1. Staff at BBC Scotland have been set the sorry task of taking good news and moulding in into bad news, to do that they have to lie they have to miss out important facts, it’s what they do every day.
    It’s not good for their health , at work they will be praised for their connivance but the underlying longterm effect on their mind is a well known phenomenon lying cheating harming others wrecks your health longterm because your inner thoughts wrestle back and forward good to bad .
    Poor souls.
    And waiting at the end of the road to get them is us.


  2. The justification for the report is the 20th anniversary of the formation of Police Scotland. No sources are quoted for the data. We have an anecdote by an unnamed former senior officer and a quote from the retiring Chief Constable. It rehashes two old stories.

    A Scottish media ‘damning with faint praise’ piece.


  3. Just caught up with this blog post and the related BBC article it refers to.

    The latter merits a prominent place as a case study for use in higher education and professional courses on journalism – how to alter, how to dilute, how to bury a positive message through the use of negative framing!

    Hats off to the expertise of BBC Scotland – it is truly a leader in the field of misrepresentation!


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