NINETY new police officers will be recruited in Cheshire over the next year, after the Home Office today confirmed officer recruitment targets for every police force in England and Wales for the first year of the unprecedented drive to increase their ranks by 20,000 over three years.
Strengthening police numbers is a priority for the government, which is providing £750 million to support forces to recruit up to 6,000 additional officers onto our streets by the end of 2020-21, the first stage in this new uplift. This is thanks to the additional funding announced by the Chancellor in the Spending Review.
Welcoming the news former Police & Crime Commissioner John Dwyer said: “Today’s announcement to recruit 90 more police officers is welcome news for Cheshire Police.
“I believe more should follow and, if I am elected into post as Police and Crime Commissioner next May, I will ensure that Cheshire gets its fair share of the 20,000 officers promised by Government’.
“Crime causes misery to our communities and these new officers will play a vital role in keeping the public safe.
“They will help play a vital role in helping to keep our streets safe, sending out a message that crime and antisocial in any form will not be tolerated.”
Police and crime Commissioner David Keane said: “I welcome today’s announcement of the allocation of 90 extra police officers for Cheshire. Over the last three years, I have been calling on the government to increase police resources for local people in Cheshire and I am pleased that it appears to have responded.
“Cheshire Constabulary has lost 135 officers over the last nine years and while this uplift will not take us back to officer numbers pre-2010, it will help us start to address the adverse effects austerity has had on local policing. It’s also important to recognise that crime has increased and become more complex over the last decade.
“I cautiously welcome the government’s promise to cover costs associated with recruiting these extra officers, including training and kit, but I am concerned how additional costs such as police cars, police station space, and the police staff required to support a police officer in doing their job will be met. It’s also clear that costs such as pensions have not been fully met by government in recent years which puts an extra pressure on local policing budgets.
“This overdue investment in policing now needs to be met by fair funding for policing on a sustainable basis and I’ll be looking at the government’s settlement for policing in December to see if this announcement is being sustained or whether the responsibility will once again fall on the local council tax payer to offset the government’s real term cuts.
“It is also worth noting that the recruitment of these officers will not happen overnight. Police officers need to be appropriately recruited and professionally trained. All of this will take some time but I will be working with the Chief Constable to ensure these extra resources are distributed wisely in areas that require an increased policing presence.”
The Home Secretary set out her vision for policing yesterday (8th October) when she chaired the second meeting of the National Policing Board, involving representatives of frontline officers and police leaders.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “The public are clear they want to see more police officers on their streets, whether they live in the city or the countryside.
“This is the people’s priority and it is exactly what the Government is delivering.
“Every single police force in England and Wales will be able to recruit additional officers this year to help keep all of our communities safer.
“All officers recruited as part of the 20,000 uplift will be additional to those hired to fill existing vacancies. They are also on top of the extra officers already being recruited because of the £1 billion increase in police funding
for 2019-20, which includes money from council tax and for serious violence.”
Government funding for recruitment in 2020-21 will cover all associated costs, including training and kit.
The National Policing Board, set up by the Prime Minister in July to drive progress in recruitment and other major policing issues, yesterday heard that all forces are accelerating their recruitment already recruiting and the website for the campaign, ‘Be a Force For All’, has been visited more than 215,000 times.
The Police Federation and the Police Superintendents’ Association attended the board for the first time, honouring the Home Secretary’s commitment for front line officers and their senior managers to be represented.
John Apter, National Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales said: “Yesterday’s meeting was constructive and it is important that we, as the largest police staff association, were at the table to ensure our members were represented.
“Investment in policing is long overdue and for the first time we now have the actual number of officers each local force will increase by in the next year.
“These figures have been based on the current funding formula models and while this method is not perfect, I accept it is the only solution available to deliver the numbers quickly in year one.
“We now need to ensure that the formula is revisited for future years to ensure a fairer allocation of officers across all forces, but this is certainly a positive start and will provide a much-needed boost to my members and the communities they serve.
Today’s recruitment targets announcement follows the establishment of a £25 million Safer Streets Fund.
Police and Crime Commissioners can bid for funding to prevent burglary and theft in crime hotspots through initiatives that could include interventions to improve home security, such as installing better locks and gating alleyways, and making streets better lit at night, for example.
It also follows the Home Office extending a pilot to make it simpler for forces to use Section 60 serious violence stop and search powers and announcing a £20 million package of actions cracking down on county lines drug gangs.
The Home Office has also announced £10 million of funding to increase the number of officers carrying Taser to keep themselves and the public safe and confirmed plans for a police covenant will focus on the physical protection of officers, their health and wellbeing and support for their families.