02 May 2017
Labour has announced plans to recruit 10,000 additional police officers, should they come into power after the next General Election on Thursday, 8 June 2017.
Following the Office of National Statistics’ (ONS) recent report of a 9% rise in recorded crime [an annual total of 4.8 million offences], Labour has committed to provide funding to the 43 forces across England and Wales to recruit an extra 10,000 officers for community policing roles. If plans pan out, they say this will mean an extra police officer dedicated to community policing in each electoral ward.
Whilst pleased that recognition is being given to the valuable role of policing, Steve White, Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales is concerned that additional officers will not necessarily cut the demand police face when other agencies struggle. More needs to be considered, including a fuller debate on how additional funding could be best spent.
Mr White, said: “Policing and security should be a priority not only for today’s Government, but also for the future Government – it’s no more than the British public deserve. They deserve to be involved in a proper public debate on the matter, with consideration given to what they want from their police service.”
The true cost of the intensifying pressure officers are under, leaving them struggling to cope, is evidenced in the results of the Federations officer welfare, demand and capacity survey which has further been reinforced by the latest police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy (PEEL) report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC).
Mr White, continued: “Austerity is causing real issues and forces are struggling to respond to increasing and ever-changing levels of demand. Without question, the Government of the day must put money back into the police service, which is currently at breaking point.
“The truth is, the service has long lost its appeal for many serving officers, and whilst we do need to replace the 22,000 we have lost, we desperately need to retain the skills and experience that we still have.
“More officers will go some way to alleviate current pressures, but conditions of service also need to improve – the remuneration and career prospects need to be enticing to attract new recruits in the first place.”