National campaign to recruit 20,000 extra police officers is launched

The campaign has launched today
The campaign has launched today

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

The Chancellor, Sajid Javid, has 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.

A Home Office campaign, urging would-be recruits to ‘be a force for all’, has been launched today - featuring serving police officers, whose images will appear on billboards and digital displays in shopping centres and railway stations across England and Wales.

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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.

He said: "Getting more police on our streets is an absolute priority and I'm delighted our recruitment campaign for 20,000 new officers is now under way.

"I have been clear from day one I will give the police the resources they need and I am delivering on that commitment.

"They have my full support and together we will cut crime, get criminals off the streets and keep people safe."

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: "Our police are the best in the word. They protect our people and communities and this Government will ensure they are well resourced so they can tackle the crime on Britain's streets.

"By bolstering the police's ranks, we can help our dedicated officers tackle crime, protect communities and be a force for all."

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While the recruitment pledge has been widely welcomed, there has been criticism over the cuts which saw police officer numbers reduced by around 20,000 since 2010 and there have been warnings about how the goal will be achieved.

College of Policing chief executive Mike Cunningham has previously warned of a series of ‘logistical challenges’, following the closure of police stations across the country.

He said: "Those joining the service will need compassion and dedication, and to be prepared for the challenges and complexity of modern policing.

"They will be supported, trained and equipped to meet those challenges."

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.

"It will also help us to accelerate our plans to improve diversity in policing.

"It also opens up the exciting opportunity for a career in policing to many more people.

"If you want a varied career and to make a positive difference in your community, policing could be for you.

"We want to attract people from a range of backgrounds with a range of skills who will complement the able, professional officers and staff currently working across policing to keep people safe."