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South West to get more than 400 new police officers

Alison Hernandez, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon & Cornwall recently travelled to London to call for better police funding

Hundreds of extra police officers have been pledged for the region after the Home Secretary announced what she calls an 'uplift' in officer numbers.

Police forces in the South West will be able to recruit a total of 423 new officers. 

All officers recruited as part of the 20,000 nationwide uplift will be additional to those hired to fill existing vacancies. 

Their first-year recruitment will see:

  • Avon and Somerset Constabulary will be able to recruit 137 new officers, which will increase their officer numbers by 5%
  • Devon & Cornwall Police will be able to recruit 141 new officers, which will increase their officer numbers by 5%
  • Dorset police will be able to recruit 50 new officers, which will increase their officer numbers by 4%
  • Gloucestershire Constabulary will be able to recruit 46 new officers, which will increase their officer numbers by 4%
  • Wiltshire Police will be able to recruit 49 new officers, which will increase their officer numbers by 5%

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.

Torbay MP Kevin Foster said: "The recent TV series 'Call The Cops' showed the professionalism and courage of our police when faced with complex and challenging situations. 

"Changing patterns of crime, summer pressures and the scourge of county lines has shown the need for extra resources and I am pleased this government is providing them."

In Devon and Cornwall the 141 officers recruited in year one of the scheme will be in addition to the 126 extra officers that has been funded since Alison Hernandez became the Police and Crime Commissioner in 2016.

She said: "This is great news for our communities and for anyone wanting to start a career as a police officer. We are in a better position than other forces in that we were already recruiting before the Government announced this uplift, so have newly trained officers and have lined up plenty of potential recruits."

Alison said she would continue to campaign for a central government funding mechanism that recognised the challenges faced by Devon and Cornwall Police.

"The challenges faced by Devon and Cornwall are significant, as we have explained in our bid for additional funding via the Home Office Special Grant system.

"We have invested £17.9m over the past three years in innovative approaches to offset exceptional pressures. 

"I was delighted to have the opportunity to discuss these challenges with Policing Minister Kit Malthouse a fortnight ago and will keep up the pressure with a trip to Westminster later this month.

"I would like to use this opportunity to remind people that there is no upper age limit to becoming a police officer. 

"We need people from a range of backgrounds and with a range of experiences to help us work together to achieve safer, resilient and connected communities and to maintain one of the safest police force areas in the country."

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