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Uplift recruitment ahead of target says Home Office

The Uplift recruitment campaign is ahead of schedule with almost 6,000 new recruits, according to the Home Office.
Published - 30/10/2020 By - Chris Smith

A year after the Prime Minister pledged to recruit more police officers, the Home Office revealed 5,824 new officers have joined forces across England and Wales.

Of those, 10% were from BAME backgrounds.

But the leader of frontline staff said people already serving the communities would still be under pressure and needed more resources.

The figures also show 12,675 new officers joined the 43 forces across England and Wales between November 2019 and September 2020. 5,824 of these were specifically recruited as part of the uplift programme. Others were recruited to backfill leavers or through locally funded recruitment.

There is now a total headcount of 134,885 officers across forces in England and Wales.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Getting more police officers on our streets is a priority for the British people – therefore a priority for me.

“As we’ve seen from the frontline response to 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 police and being a part of this heroic national effort.”

The extra officers are being welcomed by force leaders after the austerity era.

But questions remain about whether the new recruits will stay and if cuts to other parts of the service will follow to cover their costs.

Martin Hewitt, Chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council: “The figures released today show a step forward but there is much more to be done, whether it is how we continue to attract and recruit our new officers or how we retain those already in service.

Chief Constable Mike Cunningham, Chief Executive of the College of Policing, said the numbers would help improve diversity: “Bringing 20,000 new officers into the service presents an important opportunity for police forces to become more representative of the communities they serve.”

Police Superintendents’ Association President, Paul Griffiths said: “It’s extremely positive to see the uplift programme moving forward at pace. We’ve seen demand on police increase and change beyond recognition over the past decade, alongside falling officer numbers, so this commitment to recruitment is crucial."

Police Federation Chair John Apter said it was important that older people with significant experience from other parts of the public sector, such as the Armed Forces, and business were not ignored by recrutiers.

He said: “Clearly this increase in officer numbers is positive news for policing, and it’s something we have desperately needed.

 “What we also need to look at is if the current recruitment process is attractive enough for potential new recruits who had other careers and more life experience.

"All too often I hear they do not feel wanted in policing, and this is wrong. This isn’t helped by the tone of messaging in recruitment advertisements, which is often geared towards graduates.”

He also added his concerns over the welfare of current officers who bore the brunt of the austerity cuts: “Policing is something I’m proud to be a part of.

"For many it’s far more than just a job - it’s a vocation and a way of life. But let’s not forget, as welcome as the pledge of 20,000 new officers is, it won’t fill the gap of the 22,000 police officers we lost under the previous Prime Minister.”

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