Statistics Explained

Police, court and prison personnel statistics

This is the stable Version.

Data extracted in June 2022.

Planned article update: June 2023.

Highlights

In 2020, the proportion of women as police officers, judges and prison personal in the EU continued to increase.
As three-year average (2018-2020), there was one police officer per 300 persons in the EU and 1 in 5 was female.
On average during the period 2018-2020, there was one professional judge per 5 690 persons, the proportion of women was 58.6 %.
There was one prison official per 1 792 persons in the EU and 1 out of 4 was female.


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Professional judges per hundred thousand inhabitants, average 2018-2020

This article presents personnel statistics for police, courts, and prisons in Europe, including the number of employees and the proportion of women. Data cover the period 2010 to 2020.

The results cover the European Union (EU), as well as the EFTA countries, the candidate countries and the potential candidate countries. Official figures are provided by national administrations of police, courts and prisons. Countries' compliance with definitions and counting methodologies can be found in Persons in the criminal justice system metadata.


Full article

In 2020, the proportion of women as police officers, judges and prison personal in the EU continued to increase

The proportion of women as police officers, judges and prison personnel in the EU has generally increased since 2010, as shown in Figure 1. In 2020, it reached the highest values for police officers (19.5 %) and prison personnel (27.0 %). In 2020[1], there were about 1.49 million police officers in total in the EU. The number of police officers was stable between 2013 and 2018, and has slightly decreased since 2018 (see Figure 1). The number of judges in the EU has been largely stable since 2010 and was 78 000 in 2020. Mainly following the falling number of prisoners, the prison personnel in adult prisons decreased between 2013 and 2016 and has remained stable since then.

Figure 1: Police officers, professional judges and adult prison personnel, per hundred thousand inhabitants and % of women, 2010-2020
Source: Eurostat (crim_just_job)

One police officer per 300 persons, 1 in 5 was female

Overall, there was one police officer per 300 inhabitants in the EU as three-year average (2018-2020)[2] or 333.4 police officers per 100 000 inhabitants. The value slightly decreased compared with the previous three-year average (334.0 police officers per 100 000 inhabitants in 2017-2019). However, there are big differences between countries, as illustrated in Figure 2. The lowest number of police officers per 100 000 inhabitants was in Finland (134.1), followed by Denmark (192.6), and Sweden (200.1). In eight EU Member States the figure was over 400. The highest values were recorded in Cyprus (556.5), Greece (509.0), Croatia (499.3), Malta (459.7) and Portugal (445.1). However, there may be differences between countries on which jobs are counted as police due to variations in how countries organise law enforcement. On average for the period 2018 to 2020, around one in five police officers was a women (18.7 %) in the EU. As illustrated in Figure 2, there are large differences between EU Member States. The highest percentage of women among police officers was in Latvia (41.1 %), followed by Lithuania (39.9 %), Estonia (35.4 %), the Netherlands (33.7 %) and Sweden (32.8 %), while the lowest were in Portugal (8.4 %), Italy (8.7 %) and Bulgaria (11.6 %). In 22 countries out of 26 that provided data, the percentage of women among police officers in the period 2018-2020 increased compared with the average of the period 2017-2019.

Figure 2: Police officers (per hundred thousand inhabitants) and % of women, average 2018-2020
Source: Eurostat (crim_just_job)

One professional judge per 5 690 persons in the period 2018-2020, the proportion of women was 58.6 %

Overall, there was one professional judge per 5 690 inhabitants in the EU as three-year average (2018-2020), that means 17.6 professional judges per 100 000 inhabitants. However, there are big differences between countries, as illustrated in Figure 3. The highest number of professional judges per 100 000 inhabitants was in Slovenia (42.7), followed by Croatia (42.0), Greece (40.5), Luxembourg (35.9) and Bulgaria (31.5). There were fewer than 15 professional judges per 100 000 inhabitants in eleven EU Member States (the Netherlands, Cyprus, Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Malta, Sweden, Czechia, Spain and Austria). In 22 EU Member States out of 23 that provided data, more than 50 % of professional judges were women. Only in Germany was the percentage of women among professional judges lower at 46.6 %, while four Member States (Estonia, Ireland, Greece and Czechia) did not provide the breakdown by sex for the period 2018-2020. However, the percentage of women in the same country may differ between type of judge, function and type of court.

Figure 3: Professional judges per hundred thousand inhabitants and % of women, average 2018-2020
Source: Eurostat (crim_just_job)

One prison official per 1 792 persons in the EU and 1 out of 4 was female

Overall, there was one prison official per 1 792 inhabitants in the EU as three-years average (2018-2020), that means 55.8 prison officials per 100 000 inhabitants. As illustrated in Figure 4, the highest number of prison officials per 100 000 inhabitants was in Latvia (115.4), followed by Czechia (106.3), Lithuania (97.3), Slovakia (92.5) and Estonia (91.3). There were fewer than 50 prison officials per 100 000 inhabitants in seven Member States (Austria, Germany, Poland, Slovenia, Greece, Bulgaria and Finland). In the period 2018-2020, the highest percentages of women among prison personnel were in Lithuania (45.6 %), Sweden (41.5 %) and Denmark (41.2 %), while the lowest were recorded in Greece (14.2 %), Bulgaria (14.8 %) and Italy (15.5 %). Five Member States (Belgium, Estonia, Ireland, France and Cyprus) did not provide data by sex for the period 2018-2020.

Figure 4: Prison personnel per hundred thousand inhabitants and % of women in adult prisons, average 2018-2020
Source: Eurostat (crim_just_job)


Government expenditure on police, courts, and prisons

Government expenditure for public order and safety in the EU was 1.8 % of the gross domestic product in 2020, of which 1.0 % was for police services, 0.3 % for law courts and 0.2 % for prisons. The remaining part of government expenditure for public order and safety was for fire-protection and other services. There is an increase by 0.1 % in the total expenditure, entirely due to police services.

For more information, see the Statistics Explained article Government expenditure on public order and safety and the table General government expenditure by function.


Source data for tables and graphs

Data sources

Data are official figures from national administrations of police, courts, and prisons. Each country provides official national figures to Eurostat as part of a yearly data collection on crime and criminal justice statistics. Due to missing reporting, any EU total in this article is presented for illustration only.

Available data

  • 1993-2007: number of police officers
  • 2008-2020: number of police officers, professional judges, prison personnel; total, men and women

Context

Police, court, and prison personnel statistics relate to the work of law enforcement services and criminal justice administration. The basic data are made for administrative purposes and mainly used by governments and authorities such as police, prosecution, courts, and prisons.

Related statistics include police-reported crime, prison statistics, government expenditure and employment statistics. Related issues include occurrence of crime, society's reaction to crime, safety and security policy, rule of law, effectiveness of the justice system.

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Notes

  1. Due to missing data, 2020 total contains some national figures from previous years
  2. Due to missing data, a 3-year average is presented instead of yearly figures