Police forces across the South West have been bolstered by an additional 224 officers since the government launched its major recruitment drive in September 2019.

 

Since the start of the recruitment drive, a total of 4,336 extra officers have joined police forces across England and Wales as a direct result of the campaign.

 

Of the 224 additional officers in the South West, 98 are in Devon and Cornwall, 60 in Gloucestershire, 33 in Wiltshire, 21 in Dorset and 12 in Avon and Somerset. More are set to follow shortly.

 

These statistics confirm that the government remains on track to hit its manifesto commitment of 20,000 extra officers by 2023, and that forces have successfully accelerated their recruitment plans to meet their target of 6,000 more officers by March 2021.

 

In total since 31 March 2019, the police workforce has grown by 5% – the largest annual increase in officer numbers since 2003-04 – with forces becoming more diverse and representative of the communities they serve, as a result of the highest proportion of black, Asian and minority ethnic officers, as well as female officers, joining since records began.

 

The recruitment drive is at the centre of the government’s commitment to back the police with more resources, powers and support to keep the public and their communities safe.

 

Earlier this month, it was announced that police pay will rise by 2.5% this year, equivalent to a constable receiving an extra £1,100, while officers will be provided with an increase above inflation for the second year running, the largest pay rise in a decade.

 

The government has also launched a targeted consultation for doubling the maximum sentence for assaults on emergency workers to two years and has set out plans for a Police Covenant, focusing on physical protection, health and wellbeing and support for families.

 

Other steps to support our frontline officers include the £1.1billion funding boost for the policing system this year (the biggest increase in a decade), funding to provide over 8,000 more officers with Taser and expanded stop and search powers so that officers can keep themselves and the public safe.

 

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.”

 

Chris Nelson, the Conservative PCC candidate in Gloucestershire, said: “It is great that the government-funded police officer uplift is recruiting ahead of schedule in Gloucestershire.

 

“These 60 extra officers should be used to reinforce neighbourhood policing teams so we can tackle the 16% rise in the latest crime figures for our county.

 

“In particular, we need more focus dealing with anti-social behaviour, which over the last few years has consistently been more than 30% higher than the national average.”

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