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Recruitment of 20,000 new police officers to begin ‘within weeks’

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The recruitment of 20,000 new police officers in England and Wales will begin within weeks, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said.

Forces in England and Wales lost more than 20,000 officers between September 2009 and September 2017.

Mr Johnson said he wanted the recruitment – which will be overseen by a new national policing board – to be completed over the next three years.

BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw said the timescale was “tight”.

Some forces are concerned they don’t have enough training instructors and police stations to support a rapid expansion, he added.

Other forces are worried new rules requiring recruits to have a degree or study for one on the job could limit the number of applicants.

Mr Johnson said: “People want to see more officers in their neighbourhoods, protecting the public and cutting crime.”

Downing Street said a recruitment campaign would begin in September, with forces held to account for meeting the target by a new board, bringing together police leaders and led by Home Secretary Priti Patel.

Ms Patel said the rise in serious violence was “deeply worrying” and recruiting additional officers “sends a clear message that we are committed to giving police the resources they need”.

“This is the start of a new relationship between the government and the police working even more closely together to protect the public,” she added.

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Priti Patel will play a key role in the recruitment drive

The National Police Chiefs’ Council said a “substantial” growth in officer numbers would help cut crime, improve outcomes for victims and increase diversity in the workforce.

Mr Johnson first made the pledge during his leadership campaign and included it in his first speech as prime minister outside Downing Street.

The government said it would also review a pilot which makes it easier for officers to use stop and search powers, with a view to rolling it out across all forces.

The change has been trialled by seven forces in England and Wales since April.

Recruitment of 20,000 new police officers to begin ‘within weeks’}

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