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Policing and law enforcement

Policing and law enforcement within the UK includes agencies responsible for: the maintenance of law and order; the prevention and detection of crime; and the reassurance and support for communities. The main functions are:

  • promote safety and reduce disorder
  • reduce crime and fear of crime
  • investigating crime
  • contribute to delivering justice in a way that secures and maintains public confidence in the rule of law

Policing organisations includes: 43 police forces in England and Wales; 9 police forces in Scotland; police service of Northern Ireland; Non-Home Office Forces, such as British Transport Police, Civil Nuclear Constabulary and Ministry of Defence Police; and Special Forces, such as Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency and Royal Military Police Special Investigations Branch. Law enforcement organisations primarily work to protect the UK borders and frontiers, including HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and UK Border Agency.

The majority of employees in this sub-sector work within the police service (in 2008/09 291,528; 89%) and in England (248,649; 76%) although they are spread throughout the UK.

Key statistics:

  • In total, there are 324,941 people working in police and law enforcement, of which:
    • 291,049 people work within the police service, of which 242,135 are in England
    • 28,903 work in Non-Home Office Forces
    • 4,989 work in Special Forces
  • There are approximately 90 establishments across the UK with the majority employing over 200 employees.
  • Police forces employ 76,948 full-time equivalent non-uniformed staff to undertake posts in finance, personnel, scenes of crime and transport, force intelligence, etc.
  • 37% of the workforce is female.
  • Women across the justice sector as a whole tend to be concentrated in support roles.
  • 95% of the workforce is white,

Employment trends and future prospects

The number of Police Officers has remained the same since 2006, with only a small decrease in 2008. However, across England and Wales cutbacks in funding from central sources are expected, which will have an impact on the amount invested in operational activity and recruitment. Northumbria, Derbyshire, West Mercia, West Midlands and Gloucestershire have seen a 2 to4% increase in officers since 2007. Police staff figures have increased by 2% and PCSOs have increased by 17% since 2006, but numbers are not expected to increase further.

Migration between forces is popular, particularly away from smaller rural forces towards larger metropolitan forces. There is recognition within forces of the need for workforce to reflect the immediate community population with targeted recruitment amongst women and Black Minority Ethnic groups.

Skill requirements and shortages

In policing, skills will be needed at both the senior and front-line manager level. There is reliance in many forces that people already have robust ICT skills, but there is an increasing use of bespoke software, such as PDAs and Blackberries, which may have a long term impact on skills needs. In the HMRC, multi-agency working skills are needed for first line and team managers with other non-law enforcement agencies including private custodial providers.

There are a number of skill shortages, including: multi-agency working; management and leadership skills; performance and quality management; managing change; financial and resource management; risk management; commercial skills in contracting and procuring; ICT and computing; plus race and diversity.

Source: Skills for Justice LMI March 2010

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Prosecution services

The prosecution service operates in:

  • Crown Prosecution Service (England and Wales)
  • Crown Office of the Procurator Fiscal (Scotland)
  • Public Prosecution Service (Northern Ireland)
  • Revenue and Customs Prosecution Office (remit extends across the UK)

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is the Government Department responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales. As the principal prosecuting authority in England and Wales, it is responsible for: advising the police on cases for possible prosecution; reviewing cases submitted by the police; where the decision is to prosecute, determining the charge (in all but minor cases); preparing cases for court; and the presenting cases at court.

Key statistics:

  • In total there are 11,258 people working in prosecution services across the UK, of which:

- over 8,730 are employed by the Crown Prosecution Service, including around 2,800 lawyers

- 323 are employed in Revenue and Customs Prosecution Service

  • Just over 1.3 million cases are heard in Magistrates’ courts and another 115,000 in Crown Court.
  • The Crown Prosecution Service consists of 39 offices in England headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor.
  • 67% of the Crown Prosecution Service is female and 12% are from a minority ethnic background.
  • Women across the justice sector as a whole tend to be concentrated in support roles.
  • 88% of the Crown Prosecution Service workforce in England is white.

Skill requirements and shortages

Amongst general prosecution staff skills gaps include:

  • first line management skills
  • customer service skills
  • being able to work sensitively with victims and witnesses
  • management and leadership skills for legal professionals

Occupational trends

An emerging occupation is that of an Associate Prosecutor. Legislation has been introduced permitting Crown Prosecution Service staff who are not lawyers, to review and present a limited range of cases involving straightforward guilty pleas (e.g. shoplifting, possession of cannabis) in Magistrates’ Courts. These Associates work under the supervision of experienced Crown Prosecutors and divide their time between police stations, where they review cases, and local Magistrates’ Courts. This role provides a clear progression path from Administrative roles to Prosecutor roles in the Crown Prosecution Service.

Source: Skills for Justice LMI March 2010

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Courts and tribunal services

The courts and tribunal services have specific responsibilities for providing administration and support to the courts and tribunal services throughout the UK. Court and tribunal services that operate within the UK include: Her Majesty’s Court Service (England and Wales); Scottish Court Service (Scotland); and Northern Ireland Court Service (Northern Ireland).

Key statistics:

  • In total there are over 26,000 people working in services across the UK, of which:

- approximately 3,000 work in tribunal services

- approximately 23,000 work in administration and support roles to the courts

  • 80% of the workforce is in England.
  • There are 513 Crown, County and Magistrates’ courts across England with the majority located in London, the North West and the South East.
  • The tribunal jurisdictions that now constitute the Tribunals Service deal with over 500,000 cases a year and resolve more disputes than the civil courts.
  • 69% of the workforce is female.
  • The Courts service has the highest female workforce percentages across the justice sector.
  • 88% of the workforce is white

Skill requirements and shortages

The following skills gaps have been identified:

  • first line management skills
  • customer service
  • being able to work sensitively with victims and witnesses
  • communication skills with the public and those with differing communication needs

Source: Skills for Justice LMI March 2010

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Custodial care

The main functions of the custodial care sub-sector within the UK justice sector are:

  • holding adult and young prisoners securely
  • reducing the risk of prisoners re-offending
  • providing custody and escort services
  • monitoring offenders in the community (e.g. via electronic tagging)

The majority of prisons in the UK are operated by public sector Prison Services (Her Majesty’s, Scottish, and Northern Ireland Prison Services). Public sector custodial care organisations include: HM Prison Service; Military Corrective Training Centre; Scottish Prison Service; Northern Ireland Prison Service.

Key statistics:

  • There are 77,595 people working in custodial care.
  • There are 248 prison establishments in the UK.
  • 84% of the workforce is located in England.
  • Public sector organisations make up the majority of custodial care employers, employing over 86% of the workforce.
  • 73% of custodial care establishments are in the public sector.
  • 37% of the workforce is female
  • Women across the justice sector as a whole tend to be concentrated in support roles
  • 94% of the workforce is white

Employment trends and future prospects

The introduction of the National Offender Management System (NOMS) will be challenging for prison establishments. This system was introduced to bridge the gap between custody and community in terms of the management of offenders, and also to move towards a model of commissioning of services to provide the highest quality correctional services and interventions in order to protect the public and reduce re-offending.

The prison population has increased over the past decade to more than 84,000 prisoners. Predicted growth in the sector, in terms of more prisons, will have an impact on the workforce. This is also likely to impact on private custodial providers. One proposal is to provide 7,500 prison places through the building of five 1,500 place prisons.

Skill requirements and shortages

The following skills shortages have been identified:

  • leadership and management – such as skills around managing contracts and competitive tendering
  • ICT – such as skills needed with the introduction of bespoke packages (i.e. OASys and NOMIS) to communicate information on individuals
  • communication skills and case preparation skills – essential as the quality of information presented needs to be considered

Source: Skills for Justice LMI March 2010

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Community justice

The community justice sector can be divided into the following five main areas of activity or career pathways:

  • Working with offending behaviour – agencies that work with offending behaviour to protect the public, operate and enforce court orders and prison licences and rehabilitate offenders to lead law abiding and constructive lives.
  • Working with victims, survivors and witnesses – mainly third sector organisations that provide support to the victims, survivors and witnesses of crime in general (such as Victim Support), as well as organisations that specialise in a particular area of crime, such as domestic violence or rape (for example Rape Crisis UK).
  • Community safety – individuals and organisations that aim to reduce offending behaviour and the harms experienced by individuals and communities because of crime and disorder. They also seek to improve people’s quality of life through efforts to change the wider physical and social environment. To achieve this, Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships (CRDPs) have been established in England, and Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs) have been established in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
  • Substance misuse – community-based substance misuse organisations (whether statutory or third sector) work to improve availability, capability and effectiveness of advice, support and treatment for drug misuse. Drug action teams (DATs) ( 150 in England) and Substance Misuse Action Teams (SMATs) ( 22 in Wales) are responsible for ensuring that the national drugs strategy is delivered at a local level.
  • Youth justice – work with young people at risk to help them progress towards employment, further training or education opportunities. In England and Wales, the Youth Justice system comprises Youth Offending Teams (YOTs).

Key statistics:

  • There are 73,000 people working in community justice, of which:

- 33,025 work with offending behaviour

- 11,500 work with victims, survivors and witnesses

- an estimated 3,350 work in community safety

- approximately 5,000 work in substance misuse organisations

- 10,000 staff (and as many volunteers) work in youth justice (figure for England and Wales only)

  • 70% of the workforce is employed in the public sector.
  • High numbers of volunteers are required to work with victims, survivors and witnesses, and with the Youth Offending Teams.
  • 66% of the workforce is female.
  • Certain roles in the justice sector, such as police and prison officers, have a minimum age requirement of 18 years and 30 year retirement schemes.
  • 85% of the workforce is white.
  • Women across the justice sector as a whole tend to be concentrated in support roles.
  • 87% of the justice sector workforce is employed full-time.

Skill requirements and shortages

The following skill requirements are needed:

  • multi-agency working
  • information sharing
  • ICT skills
  • leadership and management skills, due to the emphasis on commissioning services, procurement, contracting and tendering

Source: Skills for Justice LMI March 2010

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Fire and rescue services

The Fire and Rescue Service in England, Wales and Scotland are based around local structures. In Northern Ireland, there is one single service. The service is an operational fire fighting body providing the following services:

  • Community Fire Safety – covers a range of initiatives that are aimed at reducing the number of fires and the number of deaths and injuries caused by fire
  • Fire and Rescue Emergency Response – responds to incidents and makes sure that the risk of injury, loss of life and damage to property is minimised
  • Emergency Planning – services that plan and prepare for large scale emergencies, such as, for example, large rail crashes, coastal pollution and severe floods
  • Fire and rescue services for particular organisations requiring on-site services, such as: British Airports Authority Fire Service; Defence Fire and Rescue Sector; Private and industrial Fire and Rescue Services; Nuclear sites; Ports; Event fire safety services; and Fire services protecting royal properties.

Key statistics:

  • In total, there are approximately 74,228 people working in fire and rescue services, of which:

- 71,428 people in local authority Fire and Rescue Services

- 870 people in Civil Airport Fire Services

- 1,750 people in Ministry of Defence Fire Service

  • In addition, there are an unspecified number of employed in occupational brigades provided by, and to protect, private companies, such as those in the nuclear and petroleum industries.
  • In England, there are:

- 30,580 full-time fire fighters, a decreased of 3.9% since 2004

- 11,744 retained duty system fire fighters (in 24-hour units of cover)

- 1,522 fire control staff

- 7,800 non-uniformed staff

  • There can be on average 150 applicants for each post.
  • There are limited data available with an equal opportunities dimension, in England:

- full-time and retained duty Firefighters are mostly male and white

- 96.7% of operational personnel are male

- the proportion of female Firefighters has increased from 2.4% in 2004 to 3.3% in 2008

Skill requirements and shortages

There is frequently a shortage of operational skills in the form of ‘retained’ (part-time) Firefighters, especially in small towns and rural areas. Additionally, there are challenges with recruiting and retaining applicants from Black Minority Ethnic backgrounds.

Source: Skills for Justice LMI March 2010

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Forensic sciences

Forensic science organisations aid investigative and criminal justice processes across the UK justice sector. The services offered include: scene examination; chemistry; biology; DNA; drugs; fingerprints; and specialist services, such as toxicology, firearms, documents and handwriting analysis.

Employment in the forensic science industry has grown at an unprecedented rate over the last ten years, due largely to advances in technology, such as the National DNA Database, and an increased reliance on forensic techniques by police forces for minor crimes. Although many are employed in the private sector, the majority of staff working in the UK forensic science industry work within police forces. The private forensic science sector consists of organisations which are either: non-departmental government bodies; and commercial providers. The non-department government bodies, or executive agencies, include the Forensic Science Service Northern Ireland (FSNI) and the Scottish Police Services Authority (SPSA) Forensic in Scotland.

Key statistics:

  • In total, there are 8,947 people working in forensic science.
  • 85% of the workforce is located in England.
  • 62% of employing organisations in forensic science are in polices forces and 38% are in the private sector.
  • Competition is fierce in all points of entry, therefore a minimum of an honours degree and, in some cases, postgraduate qualifications are needed for entry.
  • 59% of the workforce is female.
  • Women across the justice sector as a whole tend to be concentrated in support roles.
  • 89% of the workforce is white.
  • Recently, there have been significant job losses in forensic science Service as three main labs were closed.

Skill requirements and shortages

The following skills gaps have been identified with new recruits:

  • a lack of depth to basic scientific knowledge
  • poor basic scientific technique
  • poor communication skills
  • poor attitudes towards workplace professionalism
  • inadequate understanding of the importance of integrity of evidence
  • poor IT skills

Source: Skills for Justice LMI March 2010

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