FIGURES released this week by the Home Office show that Warwickshire Police has recruited more new police officers as a percentage of its overall strength than any other force in England and Wales.
It means that at the end of March 2020 the force has seen its total head count grow by more than 14 per cent. That’s nearly double the rate of the next nearest police force in England and Wales.
The announcement shows that since a national campaign was launched last year, Warwickshire Police has recruited an extra 130 officers – figures that are only beaten by much larger forces such as the Met, West Yorkshire, Merseyside and Thames Valley.
And during the current coronavirus crisis, work has been put in place to ensure that officer recruitment can continue.
Applications are still being received and a Positive Action programme has also been launched, with the aim of boosting the numbers of Black and Minority Ethnic applicants to the force so that it is more representative of the communities it serves.
The Home Office figures are calculated from a baseline number in March 2019, which included the actual number of officers at that time, plus any already planned for recruitment funded through the local Council Tax precept increase in 2019/20.
When also taking those additional precept officers into account, the force has actually been able to take on 216 new recruits in the last 12 months.
That translates on the ground to a new total of 1,043 police officers serving in Warwickshire at the end of March 2020.
Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe said: “I promised that the additional funding that taxpayers across Warwickshire have granted over the last two years would be used to put extra boots on the ground and ensure that policing numbers would top the 1,000 mark.
“Warwickshire Police has worked tirelessly to recruit and train these extra officers as well as those from the national uplift programme. These latest figures are a validation of that tremendous effort.
“That this has been achieved while the Warwickshire Police has been undergoing a major changes following the end of the alliance with West Mercia shows the core strengths of the force. We may be a small county but, as is often the case, Warwickshire performs well above its weight.
“The benefits of all this are now being shown out in communities: officer levels are now back to or ahead of where they were when austerity measures came in from 2010 onwards, something that I know is welcomed by communities through the increased visibility of policing.
“We will also see a further benefit when we get our share of the second phase of Government funding for the national uplift in officers from 2021 onwards, so there is more good news to come.”