More than half of the 20,000 additional police officers promised by the government have now been recruited, the Home Office has announced, with West Mercia Police gaining more than 220 additional officers as part of the allocation since September 2019.
An extra 11,053 officers have been hired across England and Wales as part of the Police Uplift Programme to help bring down crime and keep neighbourhoods safer. With the government now 55% of the way to meeting its recruitment target of 20,000 additional officers by March 2023, officer numbers at West Mercia Police now stand at the highest level since 2011.
As announced in the Home Office figures, by the end of September there had been an increase of 165 officers at West Mercia Police since the national programme began two years ago, with an additional 56 officers joining in October 2021.
Nationally, there have been increasing numbers of women signing up to join policing. Forces saw more women joining the ranks to tackle criminals and protect the public from harm between July and September 2021 – with female officers accounting for 45% of all new joiners during that time. 37% of all new officers at West Mercia Police over the last two years have identified as female, and female police officers now account for over 34% of the force total.
There are also more ethnic minority officers employed across forces than at any other time in the country’s history. This is also reflected at West Mercia Police, with ethnic minority officers now making up 3% overall, the highest level in the force’s history.
The West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner has invested to increase the workforce, creating more frontline officers and making policing more accessible and visible in local communities, and policing numbers are set to further increase, as the force has launched another drive to recruit more officers. The localised recruitment drive runs alongside the national Police Uplift programme.
Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said: “I set out my promise to ensure there are more officers in our communities, being visible, being accessible and delivering for the public. The continued drive to recruit has meant that there are far more people to protect, help and serve than when I was first elected and I am pleased to see this uplift continue. Locally and nationally this will play a big part in creating safer communities.”
Rachel Jones, Assistant Chief Constable at West Mercia Police, said: “The current recruitment campaign gives us a once in a generation opportunity to improve diversity in policing, as well as contributing to our highest number of officers in a decade.
“Our focus remains on attracting and retaining the best applicants from a range of backgrounds to serve the public. A substantial uplift in officer numbers like this gives us the ideal opportunity to increase the diversity of our workforce. A diverse set of professional skills is needed to be a police officer, and policing benefits greatly from individuals with socially diverse backgrounds and experiences. With a larger, more representative and diverse workforce, we know that we can be more effective in improving the public’s confidence and trust in policing and be a more inclusive force.”