BORIS Johnson hailed the highest increase in police officer numbers in almost two decades after figures revealed more than 4,000 have already been recruited this year.
Police forces have signed up almost a quarter of the 20,000 the PM promised to deliver in his flagship election pledge.
Some 4,336 officers were hired in the first eight months of the Government’s recruitment drive from a whopping 89,950 applications to join the police.
It takes the overall headcount of officers in England and Wales to 133,131, according to Home Office figures released yesterday.
Boris, who met new recruits during a visit to North Yorkshire Police headquarters yesterday, said: “When I became Prime Minister I made a commitment to the police that they would always have my backing and we would recruit more officers, cut crime and make your streets safer.
“Just over one year on we are already delivering on our promise, with over 4,000 new officers already, meaning we’re ahead of track on our plans to recruit 20,000 in the next three years.
“As we’ve seen from the frontline response to the coronavirus, the work of each and every police officer helps to save lives and I would like to extend my gratitude to them, and to the new recruits, for joining the service and being a part of this heroic effort.”
John Apter, national chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “This increase in officers was desperately needed.
“However, as important as recruitment of new officers is, the retention of those we have is just as important.
“Experienced officers are leaving policing for a variety of reasons, more must be done to ensure we don’t lose that valuable experience.”
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