The Home Office collects and publishes data annually on the primary function of police officers, as part of the police workforce statistics. These data include all officers whose primary function is “Road Policing”, whether they spend all of their time in this area or not. Officers with multiple responsibilities are recorded under their primary function. The data do not allow officers who spend all of their time in this area to be separately identified. The number of full time equivalent police officers employed in road policing roles as at 31 March 2016 was 4,934.
These data can also be found in the supplementary tables of the July 2016 police workforce statistics publication. Some forces are unable to make a clear distinction between certain functions and therefore record the majority of, or all, employees under one function. In particular, some forces have employees who work within units whose function is to provide both roads policing and armed policing.
Reclassification of roles within a force can lead to fluctuations in the number of officers in a particular role between years. Decisions on the size and composition of the police workforce are operational matters for Chief Officers working with their Police and Crime Commissioners and taking into account local priorities.