Lancashire will have recruited more than 500 new police officers by next spring, police and the county crime commissioner have insisted.
Andrew Snowden was speaking after the leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Preston City Council highlighted the latest figures for interior officers following progress on a national program, launched three years ago, which aims to increase the officer numbers of 20,000 by the end of March 2023 – and claimed Lancashire was in fact “rolling back”.
John Potter said the county force had so far welcomed 270 new officers into its ranks – meaning it would need to employ 27 more each month for the next nine months if it is to meet its target of recruiting 509 officers. between them as part of the government’s ‘uplift’ scheme. Separately, Mr Snowden has also pledged to use local funding to bring the total number of new entrants to 612.
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Cllr Potter warned the sheer scale of the uprising challenge alone meant the target was not going to be achieved. He also said statistics showed Lancashire Police actually lost 44 officers between March and June – just as crime rose up the local priority list.
“We see it at street level – an increase in anti-social behavior, but people [thinking] what’s the point of calling if the police don’t show up or if they show up hours late. In the surveys we carry out, across North West Preston – from Lea Town to Sharoe Green – each of them says crime is among their top three problems.
“Right now, more than ever, people need a little more comfort. The Liberal Democrats are calling for a return to proper community policing, where officers are visible, trusted and known personally to locals,” said Cllr Potter, who claimed Lancashire residents were “abandoned and taken for granted. acquired by this Conservative government”.
However, Andrew Snowden denied the Lib Dem analysis of the local situation – saying the figures reflected when recruitment windows were open and the natural turnover in staff at a large organization like the Lancashire Constabulary. “The nature of policing is that numbers fluctuate throughout the year due to normal factors such as retirement. However, we remain on an upward trajectory and will achieve the target of 509 set in the uprising program with hundreds more officers joining the ranks through various pre-planned recruiting tranches throughout the year.
“In addition to this, I am happy to say that Lancashire is also recruiting 103 additional officers, funded by an increase in the council tax precept, bringing the total number of new officers to 612. I am also proud to see Lancashire take the lead. number one for all of England for increasing the proportion of female officers joining the force through the government’s strengthening program – 54% of officers the force has hired since March 2020 are women, more than any other force in the country.
“The Constabulary is doing a fantastic job recruiting quality candidates to join the force and paving the way for the recruitment of a more diverse workforce that represents the communities it serves. I regularly attend attestation ceremonies for new recruits and it is always a pleasure to meet them, to see the enthusiasm they bring to their duties and to be able to reassure the public that the force is growing.
“These additional officers will make a real difference, helping us to tackle crime and achieve the priorities that Lancashire residents believe are most important to them. I will work closely with the Chief Constable to ensure the additional resources coming into Lancashire Police are used to the best of their ability to keep people safe and I will also continue to work constructively with the government on any additional investment in county police departments,” the Conservative Commissioner added. .
The 20,000 officers recruited nationwide under the uprising program will replace the same number that has been reduced over the past decade.