Leicestershire Police has recruited 130 new officers in the past six months, taking the total for the force to 2,041 by the end of March.
The officers form part of the force’s plans to boost overall numbers by around 600 over the next five years. This will go some way to replacing those lost in times of austerity.
Over the last couple of years the Police and Crime Commissioner has raised the council tax precept to allow the force to recruit more officers. This was supported by the Government in September last year when it announced £750 million funding towards the recruitment of 20,000 more officers across all 43 forces in England and Wales.
Leicestershire has been allocated just over £400,000 from this nationwide recruitment pot.
Some of those recruited will replenish those who leave or retire but many will be extra, meaning there will be more resources for round the clock response and neighbourhood teams.
With support from Leicestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, the force had planned to recruit 107 new officers by 2021 using cash from the council tax precept. However, it was set a Government target of recruiting an additional 89 officers on top of this by March 2021 and this recruitment activity is ahead of schedule, with nearly half already recruited and having started their training.
Leicestershire’s Chief Constable Simon Cole said: “We’re delighted to be in the position to recruit new officers and I’m pleased that a substantial amount have already joined our policing family and are either in training or have completed this and are out on the streets. This will go some way to replacing those we have lost over the previous decade.
“The current situation has not prevented us from continuing our recruitment drive and I hope that it will actively encourage some to consider a career with this force when they see just how much they can make a difference to others. Joining the police is like no other career – it is so rewarding and brings you an enormous sense of pride from protecting the vulnerable to saving lives. Not only that but it’s exciting, diverse and as the current situation proves, a vitally important role.
“Our population has grown and so has the complexity of crimes we have to deal with. It’s absolutely right that we have the resources necessary to carry out our duties to the best of our ability. We are also extremely keen to ensure that our force represents the diverse communities we police and therefore we welcome applications from all backgrounds.”
Nationally, Police ranks across England and Wales have been bolstered with an additional 3,005 officers since the Government launched its major recruitment drive.
Home Office figures show that there are currently 131,596 officers in England and Wales.
Welcoming the figures, Leicestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Lord Willy Bach, said: “These figures are good news for our communities and good news for our police force, particularly in these very challenging times.
“Over the years I have consistently called for more funds to recruit additional officers and now we see that the plans are well on track. These officers will be funded by my own budget and the Government’s uplift project. Every community will benefit, with extra officers and new ways of working ensuring that there are more officers working to tackle local problems.
“One thing that remains very important to me is to increase the diversity of our officers to ensure that the workforce truly represents the community it serves. The recruitment and training teams have done a fantastic job in bringing all these new recruits on board, and I urge people to continue to watch out for opportunities to join this excellent policing family.”
There are several routes into policing open to graduates, non-graduates and people moving careers aged 19-57 years.
Current routes include the graduate scheme for those who already hold a degree and the apprenticeship scheme which allows individuals to gain a degree while working and earning a full salary as a police officer. Starting salary is just over £24,000 and within seven years could be just over £40,000 in the same role.
If you enjoy facing challenges and solving problems and would like to contribute to keeping people safe then policing could be for you. No two days are the same you'll get to learn new skills, meet new people and set out on a career path that could see you specialise as a firearms officer, dog handler, traffic officer, digital media investigator, detective or become the trusted, familiar face of neighbourhood policing.
For more information on routes into policing and to apply visit the force’s recruitment pages.