Police forces have recruited an additional 4,336 officers as part of the government’s campaign to put 20,000 extra officers on the streets, figures published today (30 July) show.
Since the start of the campaign, 9,327 officers have joined police forces. 4,336 were recruited specifically as part of the uplift programme, with others joining forces through locally funded recruitment or back filling leavers.
This means forces are on their way to meeting the first target of 6,000 additional officers in England and Wales by March 2021.
The Prime Minister and Home Secretary visited North Yorkshire police force this morning to meet some of the new recruits.
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.
Separately, the Home Office has published its bi-annual Police Workforce statistics. This publication shows that the police workforce has grown by 5% compared to 31 March 2019. This includes the largest annual increase in officer numbers since 2003 2004.
The workforce statistics also show that forces are becoming more diverse and representative of the communities they serve. The figures showed the highest proportion of black, Asian and minority ethnic officers, as well as female officers, since records began.
But there is still more to do. The Home Secretary is today writing to forces, praising them for their recruitment progress but urging them to fully utilise the opportunity presented by the uplift campaign to continue to diversify the police workforce.
Recruitment has continued at pace during the coronavirus pandemic, with forces adopting innovative solutions to bring in new talent.
The College of Policing has developed an online assessment centre, allowing forces to assess candidates without the need for face-to-face contact.
The digital platform is already being used in 30 forces and will expand across the remaining forces during the next three months.
As the UK carefully begins to open up again, emergency COVID-19 guidance issued by the College of Policing to ensure safe recruitment processes will be reviewed at the end of September.
Chief Constable Mike Cunningham, CEO of the College of Policing, said:
The figures released today demonstrate policing’s ongoing commitment to bringing additional officers into the service.
The new officers recruited through this campaign will ease the pressure on our existing workforce, help us to reduce crime and improve outcomes for victims, whilst helping us to improve the diversity of our staff.
The College of Policing’s new national entry routes into policing are being implemented by forces across England and Wales and will ensure that those joining the service are trained to consistently high standards so they are equipped to meet the challenges and complexity of modern policing.
National Police Chiefs’ Council Chair, Martin Hewitt, said:
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.
Association of Policing and Crime Commissioners Chair Paddy Tipping said:
Police and Crime Commissioners are committed to meeting the targets for the recruitment of police officers established by the Police Uplift Programme.
It is testament to the hard work of the police service, both locally and nationally, that the service is on track to meet these targets while some forces have already met their target for 20/21, some eight months ahead of schedule, this despite the undoubted difficulties caused by COVID-19.
Police and Crime Commissioners will be developing their discussions with chief constables about uplift and continuing the conversation about recruiting police officers that are representative of the communities they serve.
The recruitment drive is at the centre of the government’s commitment to back the police with more resources, powers and support to keep communities safe.
Other steps taken to support the police include the biggest funding boost in a decade, with up to £1.1 billion more going into policing compared to last year.
The government has also launched a consultation on doubling the maximum sentence for those who assault emergency service workers, meaning a stronger deterrent and better protection for police.
We will also seek to legislate for a Police Covenant to provide better support and protection for police and their families.