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Rural Security

Volume 454: debated on Tuesday 5 December 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) special constables and (b) farm, horse, country and poacher watch schemes were in place in rural counties in England and Wales in each year from 1997. (106120)

Data on special constabulary numbers are collected by police force area. They are published annually in Home Office Statistical Bulletins on police strength in England and Wales, which are available in the Library. Figures for the years 1997-2006 are set out in the table.

The Home Office does not collect figures on the number or type of watch schemes in England and Wales. Watch schemes are not required to register with either the Home Office or police service.

The total strength1 for special constables by police force area (1997-2006)

As at March:

Police force area

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

Avon and Somerset

759

621

547

459

400

364

345

305

396

408

Bedfordshire

182

186

154

151

115

118

98

146

209

181

Cambridgeshire

303

320

310

274

218

207

189

193

199

185

Cheshire

475

459

407

350

290

191

161

173

192

225

Cleveland

160

164

126

128

93

85

102

85

66

138

Cumbria

189

198

204

176

156

102

94

77

126

152

Derbyshire

428

380

317

282

275

260

249

301

369

429

Devon and Cornwall

1,148

1,024

918

870

804

689

645

602

582

572

Dorset

289

315

305

298

267

253

214

210

230

264

Durham

184

144

159

157

146

134

94

81

91

109

Essex

634

638

544

483

445

381

371

349

363

439

Gloucestershire

297

276

233

206

183

154

157

155

146

157

Greater Manchester

685

598

523

457

367

338

340

345

380

424

Hampshire

621

698

760

615

462

444

373

346

369

388

Hertfordshire

297

306

238

216

198

206

193

206

226

232

Humberside

340

324

269

246

212

207

157

209

328

330

Kent

589

592

526

436

392

327

286

341

338

306

Lancashire

483

489

449

382

360

363

351

336

319

366

Leicestershire

415

406

316

247

162

143

149

159

181

168

Lincolnshire

271

260

216

195

166

155

139

156

179

166

London, City of

86

76

64

56

43

36

42

54

52

70

Merseyside

401

419

458

476

541

468

503

371

259

345

Metropolitan police

1,714

1,282

1138

758

774

680

692

742

697

1,221

Norfolk

402

337

336

285

259

244

239

241

253

262

Northamptonshire

316

288

230

199

188

177

189

197

242

237

Northumbria

533

400

342

332

300

256

221

169

240

198

North Yorkshire

362

358

276

217

182

185

177

160

173

189

Nottinghamshire

620

558

461

411

335

341

261

295

333

361

South Yorkshire

308

281

246

205

188

206

204

200

204

270

Staffordshire

685

595

468

482

402

384

391

376

409

406

Suffolk

379

397

420

391

349

308

275

266

267

293

Surrey

297

235

224

175

149

187

212

255

289

280

Sussex

472

442

393

352

306

306

303

181

200

197

Thames Valley

656

609

569

472

418

356

369

341

375

327

Warwickshire

381

345

261

260

221

209

190

169

190

211

West Mercia

582

512

515

476

399

339

309

280

263

284

West Midlands

945

889

731

680

617

598

637

715

959

1,021

West Yorkshire

690

589

559

484

415

349

374

403

417

440

Wiltshire

154

149

184

173

152

147

154

169

174

180

Dyfed-Powys

283

254

237

202

191

157

152

151

167

194

Gwent

157

119

113

119

137

142

130

136

144

137

North Wales

341

358

400

247

207

125

133

124

124

136

South Wales

361

366

338

267

254

277

173

218

198

281

Total 43 forces in England and Wales

19,874

18,256

16,484

14,347

12,738

11,598

11,037

10,988

11,918

13,179

1 Total strength is based on headcount figures.