Mr. Speaker,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.
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.