After having read “Warriors & Citizens – American Views of Our Military edited by Kori Schake & Jim Mattis,” I decided to google the size of the British forces. Downsizing seems to have been on the agenda not only in my native country of Norway, but also here in England just as it was in the USA under the Obama administration. In this day and age with all of our shared threats/enemies in Europe I thought that this information could be of interest to everybody:
TOTAL BRITISH ARMED FORCES
OVERVIEW (as at late 2015)
Royal Navy 33,450 (includes 7,000 Royal Marines)
Army 92,000 (includes 2,700 Gurkhas)
Royal Air Force 35,030
Total Regular Forces
(Figures are for trained and untrained personnel and include small numbers of Full Time Reserves).
Army Figure includes about 2,700 Gurkhas
By 2020, Regular Forces levels are planned to be about: Army 82,000, Royal Navy 30,000, Royal Air Force 33,000
Royal Air Force 1,500
There are probably over 50,000 Regular Reserves who could be recalled in a major emergency.
MOD Civilians 61,630 (late 2015)
More can be read here: Armed Forces.
The first line of defence for a terror attack in the UK is the police force. Before any of the military units detailed later in this article can go into action on UK soil, authorisation to do so must be given by civilian authorities. This authorisation usually comes from a crisis response committee held in special conference rooms in Whitehall. Sometimes referred to as COBR or COBRA, these committees are headed by the Prime Minister or other top civilian leaders. COBRA analyses the level of threat and determines how to respond. As the politicians and security chiefs sit in committee, it will be the police on the scene of a terrorist incident who will be the first responders.
Each United Kingdom police constabulary maintains a specialist firearms capability with tactical team members trained to Authorised Firearms Officer (AFO) standard or higher. AFOs are roled with carrying out law enforcement operations outside the capability of regular, unarmed officers. AFOs in an Armed Response Vehicle (ARV) unit would typically be the first armed police unit to arrive at the scene of a terrorist attack.
More can be read here: Elite UK Forces.
The UK military’s primary counter-terrorism unit is the Army’s 22nd Special Air Service. At any time, one full SAS Squadron (around 60 men), designated the Special Projects Team, is on standby to respond to a terrorist incident. Squadrons rotate into the CT role on a six-monthly basis. The SAS wrote the book on rescuing hostages from buildings, planes, trains and vehicles.
The file from where I copied this was automatically downloaded when I clicked on “Police numbers in England & Wales – Parliament UK.” If you google it you can get the file yourself and see the graphs, etc.
Police numbers in England & Wales
● There were 124,066 full-time equivalent police officers in the 43 police forces of England and Wales on 31 March 2016, a 2,752 decrease (2.2%) compared with a year earlier. In addition there were 296 central service secondees (bringing the total to 124,362). There were 2,968 British Transport Police officers.
● Since March 2003 this headline measure of police strength has included staff on career break or maternity/paternity leave. Excluding staff on career break or maternity/paternity leave, to enable longer term comparisons, the strength of the 43 police forces was 118,779 at March 2016, the lowest level since March 1985.
● Since 2010 there are nearly 20,000 fewer FTE police officers, a reduction of nearly 14%.
● Police forces recruited 4,735 officers in the 12 months to March 2016, with 7,701 officers leaving over that period.
● The proportion of female police officers in England and Wales has increased from 7% in 1977 to 29% by 2016.
● Ethnic minority strength as a proportion of total police service strength increased from 1.0% in 1989 to 6% in March 2016. In London, the proportion of ethnic minority officers in the Metropolitan Police force is 12%.
● The Library’s Police Service Strength briefing paper contains updated UK-wide statistics.
These are the requirements if you feel like joining the law enforcement in the UK:
As you might imagine, applicant guidelines are fairly comprehensive, but here are a few highlights:
-there are no minimum or maximum height requirements
-there is no formal educational requirement, but you will have to pass written tests
-you must be either a British Citizen, a citizen of the EU or other states in the EEA, or a Commonwealth citizen or foreign national with indefinite leave to remain in the UK
-although you may still be eligible to join the police service if you have minor convictions/cautions, there are certain offences and conditions that will make you ineligible. If you are at all unsure, contact your chosen force for more information
you must physically and mentally be able to undertake police duties.
More can be read right here: Police Recruitment in the UK.