Northumbria Police recruitment drive launched - but fears remain over funding for new officers

Recruitment of new police officers has started in Tyne and Wear – despite bosses having no idea how many the government will provide finding for.

By James Harrison
Friday, 13th September 2019, 11:35 am
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuiness
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuiness

The Home Office confirmed the start of a campaign to get an extra 20,000 bobbies on the beat in an announcement on September 6.

But while the new initiative has been cautiously welcomed, chiefs at Northumbria Police say details are still sketchy over exactly how much the force stands to gain.

“We’ve all heard about the miraculous recruitment of 20,000 new police officers – although to me they’re replacement officers,” said Kim McGuinness, Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Northumbria Police.

“I’m pleased with the announcement, but we don’t know how many we will get in the North East, but we have gone out to recruit – I’m disappointed that we don’t have that information yet, but we will continue to follow that.”

McGuinness, who was elected PCC to replace the outgoing Dame Vera Baird in July, was speaking at Tuesday’s (September 10) meeting of the Northumbria Police and Crime Panel.

According to the government, up to 6,000 officers will be recruited in a ‘first wave’ to be shared among the 43 forces covering England and Wales.

According to Home Office figures, the number of police fell by almost 22,000 between 2010 – 2018.

And speaking to the panel, McGuinness claimed that, depending on the funding formula used, some forces stand to gain more officers than they have lost since 2010, while others, such as Northumbria, could ‘still end up with a deficit’.

The PCC added: “We don’t know if all forces are ready to recruit and if that will benefit some forces, but it actually takes quite a long time to get an officer on the streets, we have to manage expectations.

“We don’t know yet how many [officers] we’re expecting, but we’re going to recruit anyway.”

The government says it has set aside £45 million to ‘kick start’ its ‘Be a force for all’ recruitment campaign.

A further £750 million has been earmarked for 2020 and 2021, during which a target has been set to sign up 14,000 recruits to ‘fill existing vacancies’.