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Police could need HALF A MILLION applicants to meet 20,000 officers target

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Police chief warns forces could need HALF A MILLION potential recruits to apply if they want to meet 20,000 new officers target

  • Government wants to recruit 20,000 new police officers in the next few years
  • But police chief warns that only one in 10 applicants are currently successful
  • Added to those expected to leave forces in that time, 500,000 could be needed

Martin Hewitt has warned of the difficulty in hiring 20,000 new police officers in the next three and a half years

Police forces could need half a million people to apply to be officers to meet the 20,000 target if current recruitment rates continue, one of the country’s most senior officers has said.

In a speech today, chairman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council Martin Hewitt outlined the scale of task facing forces ahead of a plan to bring in thousands of new recruits in the next three and a half years.

He said that up to 30,000 officers could leave the job in that time, meaning 50,000 would be needed to replace those leaving and add the required number on top.

With only one in ten hopefuls currently successful, 500,000 applicants could be needed to fill the quota.

The most recent census states that there are 36.3 million working age adults, meaning that nearly one in every 60 adults in Britain would have to apply for the plan to be met.

Mr Hewitt, speaking at Police Superintendents’ Association Annual Conference, said he hoped the ratio of applicants who are successful could be improved so that quite so many wouldn’t be needed.  

And, speaking to the Press Association before the speech, Mr Hewitt warned that, even if the 20,000 target is met, recruitment alone will not plug the widening gap between resources and the surge in demand on UK forces. 

Police at a passing out parade. The government wants to recruit thousands in the coming years

Police at a passing out parade. The government wants to recruit thousands in the coming years

He told the Press Association: ‘The 20,000 is a great opportunity and that will help, but its not the answer on its own.

‘One of the demand issues that has transformed over the last few years is the amount of time that we are stepping in to spaces that would have been done by other organisations, particularly social care and health.

‘The 20,000 will help but it is not the sole answer. We now have to deal with these really challenging online threats where our role is very different and we’re in a very different space, but we still have to deal with the crime we’ve always had to deal with.

‘We’ve had this ever increasing rise in demand, and not only is it volume demand but it’s also increased in its complexity.’

Plans are under way to recruit 20,000 extra police officers nationally over the next three-and-a-half years, to bring the service back up to 2010 staffing levels.

So far around £800 million has been pledged to allow around 6,000 officers to be recruited by spring 2021.

On Monday, chairman of the Police Superintendents’ Association (PSA) Paul Griffiths called on Home Secretary Priti Patel to recruit another 300 superintendents as part of the drive. 



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