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.”
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 increase provides West Mercia with the chance to increase the diversity of its workforce.
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 who started their police apprenticeship on Monday.
Since the start of 2020, 19 new officers have joined West Mercia under the previous route to policing.