As the Government announces its police recruitment plans are on track, the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) welcomes this news but calls for funding reassurance.
An additional 3,005 officers have been recruited since the Government launched its uplift programme in September to recruit 20,000 extra officers over the next three years, according to figures released today (30 April) by the Home Office.
Between March 2010 and March 2018, police forces in England and Wales lost 21,732 officers due to harsh austerity measures introduced by the then government.
PFEW National Chair John Apter said: “This is good news for policing and provides a lifeline we have desperately needed for many years.
“Whilst this does not undo the damage done by a decade of cuts to policing, it is definitely a step in the right direction to rebuild what we had before austerity measures hit hard.”
In total, forces recruited 6,435 officers from November 2019 to March 2020, including recruitment planned before the Government campaign was announced.
The statistics show that forces are on track to meet their target of 6,000 by March 2021.
There is now a total of 131,596 officers, a 5% increase on March 2019.
Mr Apter continued: “Whilst the support from the Home Secretary and Policing Minister to initiate the uplift programme is very welcome - we need reassurance that the Government will fund years two and three of this programme and see this through to the end.
“I completely accept that as a result of the current crisis the Government has financial pressures, but policing must be a priority and a genuine increase of 20,000 officers is essential so my colleagues can keep the public safe."
New online assessment centres, which will ensure recruitment continues during the coronavirus outbreak, will also be launched by the College of Policing in June.
“The way we assess, recruit and train new recruits has changed significantly as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We must ensure that standards are maintained throughout the whole recruitment and assessment process; this is a red line for us and something we will not allow to be relaxed," concluded Mr Apter.