More than 4,000 extra police officers recruited
Workforce stats show the largest annual increase in police officer numbers since 2004, with the Home Office saying that they have already recruited 22 per cent of its 20,000 officer target.
Since the start of the campaign to put 20,000 extra officers on the streets, 9,327 officers have joined police forces. Of that figure, 4,336 were recruited specifically as part of the uplift programme, with others joining forces through locally funded recruitment or back filling leavers.
The government has a target of 6,000 additional officers in England and Wales by March 2021.
The Home Office has also published its bi-annual Police Workforce statistics which shows that the police workforce has grown by five per cent compared to 31 March 2019. This includes the largest annual increase in officer numbers since 2003-2004.
But figures show more than 20,000 police were lost between 2010 and 2019. Critics of the policing target have pointed out that the extra recruitment would do no more than return officer numbers to 2010 levels, after which they fell as part of austerity measures.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “When I became Prime Minister I made a commitment to the police that they would always have my backing and we would recruit more officers, cut crime and make your streets safer. Just over one year on we are already delivering on our promise, with over 4,000 new officers already, meaning we’re ahead of track on our plans to recruit 20,000 in the next three years. As we’ve seen from the frontline response to the coronavirus, the work of each and every police officer helps to save lives and I would like to extend my gratitude to them, and to the new recruits, for joining the service and being a part of this heroic effort.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “We are delivering on the people’s priorities – putting more police officers on the streets to cut crime and keep us safe. Our brave police officers have gone above and beyond during the coronavirus pandemic, clearly inspiring many others to join them. My support for them remains unwavering – they deserve our utmost gratitude and respect.”
Martin Hewitt, chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, added: “4,336 extra officers puts us well on our way to achieving our ambition of 6,000 additional officers by March 2021. These officers are very much welcomed. Even during the height of the Covid-19 challenge, forces have continued to recruit and train new officers. We are not complacent and our focus remains on the recruitment challenge of attracting those who are currently underrepresented to consider a career with us.”