More than 3,000 extra officers join police as part of Johnson pledge

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Home Office reveals progress in reversing net loss of about 20,000 officers under Tory austerity

More than 3,000 additional officers have joined police forces as part of the recruitment pledge made by Boris Johnson during his Tory leadership campaign, figures have shown.

Johnson promised to recruit 20,000 officers, a figure, many noted, was roughly the same as the number lost during 10 years of austerity under the Conservatives.

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World news | The Guardian

More than 3,000 additional officers have joined police forces as part of the recruitment pledge made by Boris Johnson during his Tory leadership campaign, figures have shown.

Johnson promised to recruit 20,000 officers, a figure, many noted, was roughly the same as the number lost during 10 years of austerity under the Conservatives.

Following his win, the government in September set out plans to recruit 20,000 additional officers by March 2023. On Thursday, the Home Office published the first official set of statistics on progress towards reaching that target.

They show 3,005 recruits joined specifically as part of the government’s uplift programme. In total, forces recruited 6,435 officers from November 2019 to March 2020, including recruitment planned before the programme was announced.

police recruitment graphic

There are now a total of 131,596 officers, a 5% increase on March 2019.

The home secretary, Priti Patel, said: “Each one of these brave officers will make a difference in helping to cut crime and keep people safe. For many, their first role has been to join the fight to stop the spread of coronavirus, protect the NHS and save lives.”

The College of Policing, the professional standards body for the police in England and Wales, has announced it is opening new online assessment centres to keep recruitment going during the coronavirus outbreak.

The body’s chief executive, Mike Cunningham, said: “The recruitment figures released today are extremely encouraging and demonstrate the scale and breadth of the positive work that has been undertaken so far to increase police officer numbers.”

Figures from the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) showed that overall crime fell by 28% in the first few weeks of the coronavirus outbreak.

One of the key planks of Johnson’s leadership campaign last summer was tough talk on crime and policing which critics dismissed as populist electioneering.

Alongside the recruitment pledge, the government has promised increased funding to provide more than 8,000 extra officers with stun guns and expanded stop-and-search powers.


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