More than 1,000 applications for new wave of officers at Northumbria Police

Northumbria Police’s largest recruitment drive in a decade sparked more than 1,000 applications in the first three months, with 10% coming from rural areas.

Sunday, 12th January 2020, 11:38 am
Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Kim McGuinness

An update from the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Kim McGuinness to Tuesday’s (January 14) meeting of the Police and Crime Panel also reveals that more than 3,000 people expressed interest in joining the force and that the first 78 recruits are now in training.

It follows the Chancellor announcing funding in September to support the recruitment of a first wave of up to 6,000 officers, to be shared among the 43 forces in England and Wales, in the wake of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s commitment to increase police numbers over the next three years.

Kim McGuinness’ report says: ‘Of those going on to apply after the initial expressions of interest, nearly 9% were from BAME backgrounds and 34% were women.’

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It adds: ‘There have also been place-focused events held in Hexham, Berwick, Rothbury and Haltwhistle to continue attracting further applicants from rural areas and I’m pleased to say some 10% of applications came from rural locations.’

The PCC told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “It’s great to see thousands of people from across our region showing their interest in keeping local communities safe and it’s a great endorsement for how well Northumbria Police is viewed.

“As a result of this, I’m proud to say we’re already training up the first 78 of the newest recruits, after years of cuts to officer numbers.

“What’s particularly pleasing is that people are coming to the police from a range of backgrounds and bringing new skills and experiences to the force. Both the Chief Constable and I are keen that Northumbria Police continues to reflect the area it serves.

“Having a diverse force of course means we need people from all backgrounds, and that includes good representation from across the many different places that make up the North East.

“I’m pleased that at least 10% of those looking to join were from rural locations, it’s vitally important they are a represented in the make-up of our force.

“The force will be continuing the recruitment drive and I would urge anyone interested to take the chance and act on this great career opportunity.”

Before Christmas, we reported that Neighbourhood Inspector John Swan had pledged that residents in rural north Northumberland will see more police on the beat in their communities in the coming months.

He explained that, as of November 4, despite his patch having just 22% of the incidents in Northern Area Command (the whole of Northumberland and North Tyneside), it now has 40% of the resources, saying that this was a recognition of the nature of tackling crime across a wide, often remote area.

Meanwhile, the PCC has also launched a public consultation on the police precept – the force’s share of council-tax bills, asking people how much they are prepared to pay to support the police.

The lowest potential rise, the equivalent of a 22 pence a month for a Band D property, would meet basic costs, but provide the force no additional funds to tackle emerging crime trends.

Options up to a 78-pence-per-month increase in the precept would allow the force to increase resources and invest in crime prevention.

Ms McGuinness said: “I believe the Government should be doing more to fund police forces, but I know that difficult decisions may have to be taken locally to ensure Northumbria Police has the resources they need to keep us all safe.”