The Home Office has today confirmed the officer recruitment targets for police forces for the first year of the unprecedented drive to increase their ranks by 20,000 over the next three years.

Strengthening police numbers is a priority for the Government, which is providing £750 million to support forces to recruit up to 6,000 additional officers onto our streets by the end of 2020-21, the first stage in this new uplift.

Police forces in the South West will be able to recruit a total of 423 new officer, including 49 new officers in Wiltshire, which will increase their officer numbers by 5%.

James Gray MP endorsed this announcement stating that:

“I was pleased to hear that Wiltshire Police will be able to recruit 49 more officers in year one of the three-year national campaign to recruit 20,000 officers. Wiltshire Police do a fantastic job for our community; I hope that this new funding will allow them to continue to meet the real pressures they face, and be more able to help prevent crime and better support victims of crime. It is an announcement which I wholeheartedly support.

Wiltshire in one of the safest of all Counties, but that should not blind us to the rise in rural crime, and especially in knife crime. We are also a target for the ‘County Lines’ drug gangs, and must be vigilant for the harm which they cause. These extra officers will play a crucial role in Keeping Wiltshire Safe.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel said:

“The public are clear they want to see more police officers on their streets, whether they live in the city or the countryside. This is the people’s priority and it is exactly what the Government is delivering.

This means there will be more than 400 more officers across the South West, helping to reassure communities and keep them safe.”

All officers recruited as part of the 20,000 uplift will be additional to those hired to fill existing vacancies. They are also on top of the extra officers already being recruited because of the £1 billion increase in police funding for 2019-20, which includes money from council tax and for serious violence.