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West Midlands Police Federation

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Recruitment plans welcomed

26 July 2019

Plans to recruit 20,000 more police officers have been welcomed by West Midlands Police Federation secretary Steve Grange.

Boris Johnson said recruitment would begin within weeks when he made his first speech as Prime Minister and added that he wanted the recruitment drive to be completed in three years’ time.

Steve said: “This is welcome news, not just for the police service but also for the communities we serve. Since the Government’s cuts programme started in 2010, we have seen officer numbers cut by 20,000 and here in the Midlands we have lost almost 2,000 officers in that time.

“Of course, while officer numbers have been falling, we have seen no corresponding reduction in demand and, in fact, I would say it has been the complete opposite. We have seen an upsurge in what are termed traditional crimes, particularly violent crime, but also the advent of new criminality, such as human trafficking and cyber-crime, and the increased threat of terrorism.

“Coupled with this, police officers have all too often found themselves picking up the pieces for other over-stretched organisations. We have become the service of first and last resort, trying to help people with mental health difficulties, for example.”

He added: “This investment in policing is long overdue and I hope this recruitment does get underway as soon as possible but we first need to see that the resources are in place to support this influx of people.”

The College of Policing has already warned of ‘logistical challenges’ in taking on the new recruits, in part due to concerns about a lack of instructors for training.

Chief executive Mike Cunningham said it was not just about ‘getting people through the doors’ but also about the assessment process, recruitment campaigns, vetting and training.

Mr Johnson has announced a national policing board, chaired by the new home secretary, Priti Patel, would be formed to support the recruitment plans and bring together police leaders.

As part of the new Prime Minister’s Cabinet re-shuffle, Nick Hurd has been replaced as policing minister by Kit Malthouse who has also commented on the recruitment plans.

Mr Malthouse, who during Mr Johnson’s time as Mayor of London served as his deputy mayor for policing from 2008 to 2012, admitted in an interview on Radio 4 this morning that taking on the new recruits could be delayed if there is nowhere for them to be based. Due to the Government’s funding cuts, more than 600 police stations across England and Wales have been shut down.