AN EXTRA 76 officers have been added to West Mercia Police’s ranks as part of the major Government’s campaign last September to boost numbers.
The force, which covers Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, is well on track to recruit the 93 new officers earmarked for West Mercia throughout 2020 to 2021.
It was part of the Government’s ‘Join the Police’ campaign to recruit 20,000 extra officers across England and Wales in three years.
The officers are in addition to the planned recruitment of 215 new officers funded by council tax – a decision taken by Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion after he asked the public what they thought was the best way to improve local policing.
West Mercia Police now has 2,240 police officers – the highest number it has had since 2012.
The Conservatives had come under fire after 21,500 officers were cut from forces across the UK between 2010 and 2018 and the current Government vowed at the last election to reverse that trend.
Rachel Hartland Lane, director of business services at West Mercia Police, said: “Despite the Covid-19 outbreak, we are continuing to focus on our key priorities, including recruiting new police officers to help us in our response to the crisis and beyond.”
Since the first student officers started their roles under the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA) programme in January 2020, West Mercia Police has welcomed 80 student officers through the PCDA route, with another 30 due to start their police apprenticeship tomorrow, May 4.
Since the start of 2020 19 new officers have joined West Mercia under the previous route to policing.
Ms Hartland Lane added: “Our police apprentices are already playing their part in the Covid-19 crisis, joining experienced officers on the frontline out on patrol across our communities, engaging with the public, explaining the reasons for the regulations and encouraging people to stay at home.”
Recruitment is ongoing despite the pandemic as the force strives to attract and retain the best staff from a range of backgrounds to serve the public.
Bosses say the substantial increase in officer numbers provides West Mercia with the chance to increase the diversity of its workforce – something it says it is really keen to achieve to give the best possible service to communities in the region.
Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion added: “Last year I promised the communities of West Mercia that I would increase police officer numbers after the public said they wanted more visibility.
“The investment I made to achieve this, along with the support from the Government’s uplift programme, saw officer numbers rise to the highest since 2012.
“I am pleased that, despite the ongoing health crisis, West Mercia Police remains focused on ensuring the recruitment is on track.
“I look forward to welcoming the new recruits as they step into the role of keeping our communities safe.”
MP for Mid Worcestershire Nigel Huddleston welcomed the news about the new officers.
He said: “I am delighted that we’ve seen the recruitment of more officers in to the West Mercia force, meaning more police on our streets to cut crime and keep us all safe.
“At this time of national emergency, these additional officers have never been so important.
“By backing our police with the funding and resources they need, we will keep the public and our communities safe and I know that each new recruit will play a vital role in this.”
Anyone wanting to join West Mercia Police should go to www.westmercia.police.uk and click on ‘Apply’.