Thanks to funding from the Government‘s national campaign to deliver an additional 20,000 police officers in three years.
According to the Home Office quarterly statistics on police officer recruitment issued today (Thursday 29 October) the five forces across the South West have already recruited an additional 397 police officers in the last 12 months. All forces in the region are on track to hit the regional target of 423 additional police officers funded by the national campaign by March next year, the end of the first full year of the three-year programme.
In Wiltshire, the Force is hiring more police officers than ever before. The first 40 funded by the national campaign started training in June, followed by a further 20 last week. They will be joined by 60 more between now and March 2021, bringing a total of 120 student officers commencing training in a year.
While the total establishment figures need to take account of officers leaving and retiring, the Force remains on track to bring in the 49 additional officers allocated to Wiltshire through the additional Government funding by the end of the financial year.
The Government’s national campaign is set to fund a total of 148 new officers in Wiltshire over the next three years – in addition to numbers already planned to replace leavers – bringing the expected number of serving officers to 1,150 by March 2024.
In Wiltshire the Force is working hard to encourage more women and people from ethnic minorities to apply to become police officers. In the last police officer recruitment campaign in March, 39% of applicants were female and 8% from BAME backgrounds.
“Since the announcement of government funding for further Police Officers, we have worked extensively to attract the very best recruits to train as police officers and serve their communities. I am pleased that today’s figure shows that we are well on track to meet the government target,” said Deputy Chief Constable Paul Mills, who leads the Force recruitment, equality and diversity work.
“We want our police force to continue to represent the diverse communities we serve and a big drive is to attract those into policing from underrepresented groups, “he added.
“It is really encouraging to see more people coming forward from these groups and through the work of our positive action team, we are seeing each campaign attract more people from diverse backgrounds.
“We have just closed recruitment for call handlers to work in our 101 and 999 Crime & Communications Centre and seen 15% of applicants from a BAME background and a similar proportion, 12% when we recruited PCSOs in the summer,” he added.
Angus Macpherson, Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon is pleased with the progress the Force is making to attract, recruit and train new officers, funded by the Policing Precept as well as the Government’s national recruitment scheme. Earlier this year the public supported an increase in the Precept, which allowed the recruitment of a further 16 frontline police officers this year.
“Last week I welcomed the latest 20 officers to Wiltshire, with more joining in the coming months. I am confident the Force will meet its recruitment targets,” he said.
“It is important to remember that all student officers must undergo 23 weeks of initial training, a mix of classroom and practical safety training, before they are deployed to community policing teams to continue their training and be seen on our streets.
“Diversity in policing is important, but there is no quick fix. It will take time to achieve the ambition of being a diverse and inclusive police service, truly representative of its communities, but I am certain that Wiltshire has the drive and commitment to achieve this,” Mr Macpherson added.