The chancellor has pledged £800mn to boost police recruitment.
The new chancellor of the exchequer has pledged almost £800 million to boost ailing recruitment into the police force.
On Wednesday, Sajid Javid delivered his first spending review amid continuing Brexit uncertainty. The chancellor’s speech saw the release of significant sums of cash for social improvement initiatives. Law enforcement, and specifically police recruitment, was one of the big winners.
The government will fund £750 million worth of police recruitment. Its target is to hire 20,000. An additional £45 million will be made available for marketing and recruitment campaigning. Javid pledged to have 2,000 new officers in place by March 2020.
The wider criminal justice system stands to gain £13.8 billion of the newly-released cash. Projects will include:
- Capacity for up to 10,000 more prison places.
- £80 million in additional funding for the Crown Prosecution Service.
- £30 million to tackle the online exploitation of children.
- A five per cent (5%) real terms increase to the budget of the Ministry of Justice.
With the increased likelihood of a general election, the announcement was seen as part of a broad move away from the government’s programme of austerity.
Police Federation Welcomes Cash Injection
The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) welcomed the announcement as “a lifeline” for the police force.
PFEW Chairman John Apter responded to the chancellor’s speech:
“The government promised to recruit additional officers and today they have put their money where their mouths are by announcing dedicated money which will enable forces to start recruiting straight away.
“For our dedicated and hard-working colleagues, the effect that a genuine increase in police officer numbers will provide cannot be underestimated. This is a lifeline that is so desperately needed.
“What must be ensured is that this initial momentum is maintained, and the full 20,000 uplift of extra officers is achieved. These must be genuine extra officers. And now we need to see more detail of how and when all of this will be achieved”
In fact, there is some concern that recruitment into the police force has stalled in recent years. And, while additional cash may assist hiring, recruiters are likely to be concerned by the shortage of available candidates. Interest in available roles has continued to drop. Searches for positions in the police force dropped by 25 per cent since December 2018, according to Indeed.