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Government meets 6,000 Uplift target two months early

At 6,250 new recruits, the Home Office has exceeded its target for signing up new police officers.
Published - 28/01/2021 By - Chris Smith

Statistics from the Home Office revealed the government has passed its target to recruit 6,000 new officers two months early.

Since the Uplift campaign was launched in March an additional 6,620 officers have joined forces across England and Wales.

Also released were figures for the entire police workforce across England and Wales. These figures show that as at 30 September 2020, the workforce had 216,155 (FTE) officers, staff and PCSOs – a total increase of 5.5% on the previous year.

And of all new recruits, 788 identified as BAME, representing 10.2% of recruits who stated their ethnicity. This means the police workforce now includes 9,871 officers from these groups.

National Police Chiefs’ Council Chair Martin Hewitt said the new officers were helping to ease pressure on teams – and had helped make their forces more diverse.

He said: “These additional officers are most welcomed and have already started to make their difference in our communities.

“We are more representative than ever before but still have a long way to go before we truly represent those we serve.”

The Home Office singled out Nottinghamshire as the force to achieve best practice in diversity.

It is already a year ahead on its recruitment trajectory which has seen 279 new officers in post as part of the 390 total allocation by the end of the programme.

As a result 7% of officers now come from a BAME background – up from 3.8% per cent at the start of the uplift programme two years ago.

It is the only force in the country to have a dedicated youth outreach worker, a school careers outreach worker and an apprentice officer.

Chief Constable Craig Guildford said: “That is happening because of the huge amount of work my officers and staff have put into our recruitment processes.

“For me this is an enduring operational imperative,” he said. 

But the good news on the Uplift target has to be tempered by cuts that have been made in the wake of the pandemic. 

The Chancellor announced a pay freeze in the autumn Budget statement that also gave new recruits a rise of just £250. He also reduced the recruitment allocation by 3,000.

The retention of current officers – as well as keeping the new recruits in the job – will be a significant challenge once the COVID-19 crisis is over.

And forces are already looking at making cuts to non-policing support staff in order to balance the books.

Police and Crime Commissioners have been forced to raise the police precept in council tax to fund additional costs and pay for extra officers.

The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners Workforce Lead Kim McGuinness said: “Police and Crime Commissioners have actively supported the Police Uplift Programme.

"We have taken difficult decisions to help fund additional police officers in our own areas, and we have worked closely with our police forces to encourage a more diverse pool of applicants into policing.

“Right now PCCs across England and Wales are finalising our budgets for next year in order for a further 6,000 officers to be recruited by March 2022. We know that more bobbies on the beat, eventually replacing those lost since 2010, is what our communities want.”

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