Police officer recruitment drive launched

A poster showing a national campaign to recruit 20,000 new police officers Credit: Home Office/PA

A national campaign to recruit 20,000 extra police officers has been launched.

The Chancellor promised £750 million to fund the first year of the project, during which it is hoped 6,000 new officers will be put in place.

Sajid Javid said in his spending round on Wednesday an extra £45 million would be spent this year to recruit the first 2,000 police officers by the end of March.

A Home Office campaign, urging would-be recruits to “be a force for all”, was launched on Thursday – featuring serving police officers, whose images will appear on billboards and digital displays in shopping centres and railway stations across England and Wales.

The Government has also produced a radio advert and launched a website which directs people to the recruitment pages of local forces.

The recruitment drive was one of Boris Johnson’s key Tory leadership campaign promises, and the Prime Minister has since said the goal will be achieved within three years.

The Government wants to recruit 20,000 new police officers Credit: Home Office/PA

But while the pledge has been widely welcomed, there has been criticism over cuts which saw officer numbers slashed by around 20,000 after 2010 and there have been warnings about the time it takes to train new recruits.

The Police Federation of England and Wales, which represents rank and file officers, has previously said that “undoing years of damage inflicted on the police service” could not be achieved with a “quick fix” .

A newly-established national policing board, chaired by Home Secretary Priti Patel, has been tasked with holding the police to account for meeting the 20,000 target.

The team, which includes Metropolitan Police deputy commissioner Sir Stephen House and head of counter-terrorism policing Neil Basu, is due to meet quarterly.

Ms Patel said: “By bolstering the police’s ranks, we can help our dedicated officers tackle crime, protect communities and be a force for all.”

College of Policing chief executive Mike Cunningham said: “Those joining the service will need compassion and dedication, and to be prepared for the challenges and complexity of modern policing.”

National Police Chiefs’ Council chairman Martin Hewitt said: “This net increase in officers will help us provide a better service to the public, reduce crime, and ease the unprecedented pressure on our people.”