Prime minister’s pledge to increase police numbers is welcomed by commissioner

Jason Ablewhite, the police and crime commissioner for Cambridgeshire. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Jason Ablewhite, the police and crime commissioner for Cambridgeshire. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

The police and crime commissioner for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Jason Ablewhite says he “welcomes” the promise to increase police numbers made by the new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.

Mr Johnson says he wants to start recruiting 20,000 officers "within weeks" as part of a policing recruitment drive across the country.

Responding to the announcement, Mr Ablewhite said that the increase in officers was "what communities want to see".

Mr Ablewhite said: "I very much welcome the fact that police officer numbers are being increased by 20,000 nationally. These additional officers will help our police forces to cut crime and provide better outcomes for victims. From my discussions with members of the public across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, I know that this is what communities want to see.

"As an addition to the welcomed uplift I will keep pressing Government to review the central grant formula to ensure that our service grows in line with the expected population increases.

"I look forward to working with the home office, the policing minister and the chief constable once more detail emerges."

The recruitment drive - one of Mr Johnson's Conservative leadership campaign promises - will start in September and the prime minister wants it completed over the next three years.

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A spokesman for Cambridgeshire police said: "Since November, we have welcomed 124 new officers to the force, with more set to join in September.

"With an ever-growing demand on policing, we remain committed to building trust and confidence within our communities and welcome the opportunities and challenges posed by an increase in officers."

Ahead of a regional visit to launch the police recruitment drive, Mr Johnson said: "People want to see more officers in their neighbourhoods, protecting the public and cutting crime. I promised 20,000 extra officers and that recruitment will now start in earnest."

Alongside the increase in officers, Mr Johnson has promised to give police greater stop-and-search powers to tackle knife crime, which were reduced by Theresa May in 2014.

He also says the Government will urgently review seven current pilot schemes, which make it simpler for officers to use the powers, with a view to extending stop and search to all police forces.