England

Police recruitment drive for hundreds of new officers

Unidentified police officers in hi-vis jackets
Image caption A government recruitment drive will see an extra 590 police officers employed in the West Midlands region

Up to 590 additional police officers are to be recruited throughout the West Midlands region next year.

It is the first part of the Conservative government's £750m plan to hire 20,000 new recruits across England and Wales over the next three years.

West Midlands Police will recruit 366 officers.

But the force's Labour police and crime commissioner David Jamieson said this was set against the loss of 2,131 officers since 2010.

There will be 90 extra officers for Staffordshire Police, 93 for West Mercia and the Warwickshire force will get 41.

West Midlands Police was allocated 6.1% out of the initial tranche of 6,000 officers across England and Wales.

"These officers are welcome, but do not cover the fall in officers we have experienced over the last nine years," said Mr Jamieson.

"Nevertheless, we will put these officers to good use helping to keep the West Midlands safe."

Its chief constable Dave Thompson said: "We have been at the forefront of describing the impact the reduction of officers has had on policing, so I am pleased with the announcement today of 366 additional officers by March 2021.

"These officers will add to those already being recruited through efficiencies the force has made to date."

The government claims its recruitment funding will also cover costs, including training and kit.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said every police force in England and Wales would be able to recruit additional officers.

But Louise Haigh, Labour's shadow policing and crime minister, said it was a "tiny drop in the ocean".

"[It] will barely touch the sides in terms of the damage done and the massive hill the police have to climb to tackle crime," she said.

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