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The Home Office has today, Wednesday 9 October,  confirmed the officer recruitment targets for police forces for the first year of the drive to increase their ranks by 20,000 over the next three years.

The government claims that strengthening police numbers is a priority and says it is providing £750 million to support forces to recruit up to 6,000 additional officers onto our streets by the end of 2020-21, the first stage in this new uplift.

Police forces in the South West will be able to recruit a total of 423 new officers, including 50 in Dorset in the first year.

The breakdown of the first year of recruitment is:

  • Avon and Somerset Constabulary will be able to recruit 137 new officers, which will increase their officer numbers by 5 percent
  • Devon & Cornwall Police will be able to recruit 141 new officers, which will increase their officer numbers by 5 percent
  • Dorset police will be able to recruit 50 new officers, which will increase their officer numbers by 4 percent
  • Gloucestershire Constabulary will be able to recruit 46 new officers, which will increase their officer numbers by 4 percent
  • Wiltshire Police will be able to recruit 49 new officers, which will increase their officer numbers by 5 percent

The extra recruitment in Dorset was welcomed by Dave Sidwick, the Conservative candidate to be Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner in the May 2020 elections.

He said: ‘Having lobbied both the PM and Home Secretary in person recently, it is excellent to see the news regarding the first tranche of police officers in the South West and Dorset specifically.

‘I look forward to more officers in the future and if elected will ensure we get our fair share and that these are then tasked to the needs of the people of Dorset.’

Meanwhile the Home Secretary set out her vision for policing yesterday when she chaired the second meeting of the National Policing Board, involving representatives of frontline officers and police leaders.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: ‘The public are clear they want to see more police officers on their streets, whether they live in the city or the countryside.

‘This is the people’s priority and it is exactly what the Government is delivering.

‘This means there will be more than 400 more officers across the South West, helping to reassure communities and keep them safe.’

All officers recruited as part of the 20,000 uplift will be additional to those hired to fill existing vacancies. They are also on top of the extra officers already being recruited because of the £1 billion increase in police funding for 2019-20, which includes money from council tax and for serious violence.

Government funding for recruitment in 2020-21 will cover all associated costs, including training and kit.

The National Policing Board, set up by the Prime Minister in July to drive progress recruitment and other major policing issues, yesterday heard that all forces are accelerating their recruitment already recruiting and the website for the campaign, ‘Be a Force For All’, has been visited more than 215,000 times.

Today’s recruitment targets announcement follows the establishment of a £25 million Safer Streets Fund.

Police and Crime Commissioners can bid for funding to prevent burglary and theft in crime hotspots through initiatives that could include interventions to improve home security, such as installing better locks and gating alleyways, and making streets better lit at night, for example.

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