MS-5: National Police Office Recruitment Campaign

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Will Frost
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MS-5: National Police Office Recruitment Campaign

Post by Will Frost »

Ministerial Statement - The "A Force For Good" National Police Officer Recruitment Campaign

Issue: In the wake of the 2008 global recession, the Coalition Government which came to power in 2010 had to make a series of difficult budget cuts in order to reign in national spending and prevent further damage to the British economy. As a result a number of police officers across England and Wales were relieved from their duties. This reduction in officers has been compounded by the fact that since 2010 we’ve seen a wave of retirements, an unfortunate coincidence where large numbers of officers have reached the age of retirement. Whereas in 2010 there were 139,000 active police officers serving in England and 7,300 serving in Wales, today there are just 119,000 active police officers serving in England and another 6,900 in Wales. As rates of crime have been steadily increasing since 2016, the Government believes that it is imperative we take action and put more police officers on the streets.

Intervention and Implementation: The Government will launch a National Police Officer Recruitment Campaign effective immediately, entitled “A Force For Good,” with the aim of hiring 25,000 police officers in the next 5 years. The Government will commit £940 million over the course of the next two budgets in order to fund the initial hiring wave of 7,500 officers, and will be injecting an immediate £60 million via the Treasury’s Consolidated Fund to jumpstart the campaign. The funding will be used in order to manufacture and release promotional materials to assist the national campaign, to ensure all recruited officers are properly trained, and to finance initial employment and equipment procurement costs. Promotional materials associated with the national recruitment drive will highlight the benefits of becoming a police officer and will involve content released through the mail, television, billboard adverts, social media, and other forms of multimedia communications.

Of the 25,000 officers recruited, 2,500 will be recruited with the aim of serving as police community support officers, and 700 will be recruited with the aim of serving as armed police officers (in order to aid the Government in meeting its 2015 goal of hiring 1,500 new armed officers.) Police officers previously made redundant between the years of 2010-2016 will be given hiring priority throughout the recruitment campaign, with the Government effectively guaranteeing re-employment for any police officer that was made redundant as a result of budget cuts. Rehired officers will still be required to undergo standard training, but will be eligible for higher levels of salary and benefits commensurate with their level of experience.

The Government has an ambitious goal of bringing on 7,500 new police officers within the next two years, and then continuing to recruit, train, and hire the remaining 17,500 officers over the following three years. The 25,000 officers will be divided up across the 43 forces throughout England and Wales.

Cost: £940 million over the next two budgets, with an immediate injection of £60 million paid for out of the Consolidated Fund.
Mr. Speaker,

My colleagues and I in the Government have often said that the Government we lead is one rooted in delivering upon the people's priorities. Getting more police officers out on the street is a priority of the British people, and today Mr. Speaker, the Government is doing just that. I am proud to announce the largest ever national recruitment campaign for police officers in British history, the "A Force for Good," Campaign. The campaign will recruit 25,000 new police officers over the next 5 years, with a commitment to bring on 7,500 officers as quickly as possible over the next two years. The campaigns costs over the course of the 2020 and 2021 fiscal years are fully financed via a commitment from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who I thank for his partnership on the critical effort. We are also providing an immediate injection of £60 million in order to jump start the campaign and ensure that we can begin immediately advertising the recruitment scheme to people across England and Wales. In full, this represents the Government's decision to make a massive financial commitment of £1 billion in new spending for our incredible police forces across the country.

Britain is on the verge of a new revolution as we depart from the European Union and forge our new destiny as a confident, strong, independent nation. And a strong nation needs a strong police force. That is why I am so proud of this announcement, and so pleased that the Government will be bringing on thousands of new police officers to serve in communities across England and Wales. This recruitment campaign will result in police forces in England and Wales exceeding the number of officers they had pre-2010, and will place a direct emphasis on recruiting and rehiring those officers who were made redundant as a result of budget cuts. We will be hiring thousands more PCSOs to get more officers out and patrolling the streets, and 700 new armed officers to meet the Government's 2015 goal of bringing on 1,500 new armed officers. We are leveling up our police force, dramatically expanding the number of officers, and backing these plans up with the funding they need.

This Government-wide effort makes clear the Conservative Party's commitment to safety, law and order, and always backing the police. The A Force for Good Campaign, combined with the announcement I made earlier this week giving police officers new stop and search powers, will ensure that police forces across the country have both the manpower and tools they need to crack down on crime, keep dangerous criminals off our streets, and ensure every community is safe. We are restoring law and order to this country, and giving every British citizen the confidence and security they deserve. You and your family deserve to be safe in your homes and communities, and the Government will do everything in our power to guarantee you that reality.
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Liam McMahon
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Re: MS-5: National Police Office Recruitment Campaign

Post by Liam McMahon »

Mr. Speaker,

I think the government for their statement today.

Mr. Speaker, there's two distinct themes in the government's approach to crime. And I'm seeing them pop up again and again, with the government seemingly refusing to learn from its own previous failures. The first overarching one which I know Members from the Opposition have made, and will continue to make, again and again and again to deaf ears is that this government is wasting time, energy and effort in cleaning up its own mess.

25,000 more police is a good number Mr. Speaker. And the Opposition doesn't just support the government in its aim to get policing not just back to, but above, 2010 levels - we pioneered that aim. While the government was cutting police numbers with the Prime Minister was in its ranks, the Opposition made clear we opposed that move. Instead of cutting our police force whilst giving handouts to corporations that are already set up in offshore tax havens as the government did, we made it absolutely clear that we shouldn't have been cutting our police force and expanding it.

And what's the consequence, Mr. Speaker? Rising crime across the country. More criminals, more victims and streets that are less safe since the bobbies have been taken off them. The government has refused to take any responsibility for that, but is now hoping it can cover its own tracks and hope that the public would simply forget about it. I would usually say better late than never, Mr. Speaker, but every victim of crime between 2010 and now will be looking at the government and wondering why the government didn't invest in safer streets for them then. Was it because there were no votes in it then, perhaps?

The second and more worrying trend Mr. Speaker is that the government has, once again, gone forward with flashy policy announcements without any meaningful strategy behind the announcement. It's easy to stand before the House, Mr. Speaker, announce that you'll hire 25,000 police, announce the cost and walk away and declare the problem fixed.

What the government has announced is only a first step, Mr. Speaker. And it is an inadequate one.

The government did nothing to take advantage of the opportunity to hire police that reflect the communities they police, a crucial first step in building trust between police and the most vulnerable and crime stricken communities which is crucial in the fight against crime. A strategy could have been laid before the House today. It was not.

The government did not outline how it would strengthen training to ensure there is a more successful pass rate, ensuring we can more quickly and efficiently help those who apply to join the force into becoming bobbies on the beat. A strategy could have been laid before the House today. It was not.

But most baffling, Mr. Speaker, is the complete lack of strategy for retention. It does little to hire 20,000 police if many of them go on to leave the force in six months to a year. The government is, it seems, trying to fix the problems it caused in 2010 when it cut police numbers that it has forgotten the crisis that faces us in 2019: not that police are being cut, but that those being hired, and even longstanding officers, are no longer staying in the force and that when the force tries to recruit it finds itself struggling to pitch policing as an attractive career prospect to the general public.

We should remember the crime - pun not intended, Mr. Speaker - of this government is not only that it took bobbies from the beat and put them into dole queues. It's that those remaining police and the other public service heroes who remained found their pay cut and squeezed in real terms. As a result, we now have the situation where those who join the force, with the extensive training, many demands and call for duty that is so strong it asks our officers to put their lives on the line for the public good can have a starting salary of just £20,000 - only a few pence higher than the national living wage per hour.

It isn't just morally reprehensible, Mr. Speaker, but if we want policing to be an attractive career and if we want the police we hire to be retained, we need an immediate uplift to wages. Until then, the Prime Minister and Home Secretary can provide any flashy figure they want, but they will not hit their recruitment targets. They would fail to get police numbers to 2010 levels, let alone have those numbers be exceeded as they've promised the public.

The Prime Minister, as we know, likes to get in photo ops with our police. But when it comes to actually listening to them, he fails the test miserably.

If he won't listen to them, he should listen to me: the Police Federation made clear that if we want to value our police force and make policing an attractive career prospect, we need an immediate boost to the wages of our police by 5%. That is what the Labour Party are calling on this government to do on the upcoming budget. It's not just the right thing to do for our public service heroes in the police force, it's the pragmatic thing to do if we're to hit the recruitment targets that have been set.

The government can cough up billions for its failed Heathwick proposals. It can cough up money for an unnecessary inquiry into its own botched Winter Fuel Payment reforms. Lets see if it can cough up the money to support our police, or if they'll let police across the country down to penny pinch just as they let down the people of Gateshead.
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