Priti Patel hopes coronavirus crisis will BOOST police recruitment drive as pandemic has inspired people to be more community-minded
- Home Secretary Patel has said 3,000 new officers have joined since last year
- Government is aiming to recruit an additional 2,000 by 2023
- Police minister Kit Malthouse warned that Covid-19 could affect this target
- Patel said the new officers had joined at an ‘unprecedented time for policing’
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
Priti Patel has predicted the coronavirus crisis will help to boost police recruitment as she revealed forces have taken on an extra 3,000 officers since the end of last year.
The Home Secretary said the figures show the Government is on target to meet its flagship manifesto pledge to recruit an additional 20,000 officers by 2023.
She marked the occasion yesterday by holding a video chat with six new recruits from Lancashire Police.
Home Secretary Priti Patel, pictured giving the government’s daily coronavirus briefing at Downing Street on Saturday, has said that the coronavirus crisis could help boost police recruitment
Earlier this week, police minister Kit Malthouse warned that Covid-19 could affect the 20,000 target.
However, Miss Patel told the Daily Mail that the epidemic ‘will not get in the way’ of the target, adding: ‘I think [it] will probably inspire many more people – perhaps people now volunteering in their community – to get out there and be a force for good.’
She told the new recruits, aged between 22 and 37, they were doing ‘the best job in the world’ but warned they had joined at an ‘unprecedented time for policing’, with officers asked to enforce the lockdown.
Patel has revealed the police has taken on 3,000 new recruits since the end of last year. Pictured: Patel gives evidence at a remote parliamentary committee about her depatment’s response to the coronavirus on Wednesday
Recruitment and training has continued throughout the crisis, with the College of Policing now starting to use online assessment centres to vet potential recruits.
Provisional data published by the Home Secretary yesterday showed 3,005 officers have been hired across England and Wales by the end of March.
It brought the total number of officers – which fell by more than 20,000 over the last decade as forces faced massive budget cuts – to 131,596.
Mike Cunningham, of the College of Policing, said: ‘The figures are extremely encouraging and demonstrate… the positive work undertaken so far to increase numbers.’
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