A query on police workforce statistics: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Information requested

May I request the following information:

  1. The reason for the discrepancy in reported Police Officer numbers on 31 March 2022 between the Scottish Government’s Police Officer Quarterly Strength statistics, which reported 16,805 FTE officers, and Police Scotland’s workforce annual report, which states there are 16,754 FTE officers. These numbers are both rounded.

Workforce plan: https://www.spa.police.uk/spa-media/qrypivlu/rep-b-20220614-item-11-3-workforce-annual-report.pdf

Quarterly strength statistics:https://www.gov.scot/publications/police-officer-quarterly-strength-statistics-31-march-2022/#:~:text=There%20were%2016%2C805%20full%2Dtime,year%20from%2031%20March%202021


As you note, the Scottish government’s quarterly strength statistics reported 16,805 officers as at 31 March 2022. This total matches the total reported by Police Scotland in their quarterly release of Police Scotland Officer numbers.

The Scottish Police Authority’s ‘Police Scotland Workforce Annual report’ presented workforce data taken from the year-end version of Police Scotland’s People and Development Dashboard. As you note, this report showed 16,754 officers as at 31 March 2022.

The reason for the difference is that detached officers, i.e. those employed by Police Scotland but seconded elsewhere, are not included in the People and Development Dashboard total. The Scottish Government’s Quarterly Strength Statistics are Official Statistics and include a time series of Police Officer numbers on a consistent basis (including detached officers).

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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