‘We’ll take on 1,000 more bobbies to make streets safer’, vows police chief
West Midlands Police is set to launch a £50 million recruitment programme to put 1,000 more officers on the streets.
Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson is confident the new bobbies can be trained and in place within three years, although the project will depend on whether the force can make cash efficiency savings in other areas.
The target is twice as high as that set by former PCC Bob Jones, who pencilled in plans to take on an additional 450 officers.
While Mr Jamieson’s proposal will lead to a net increase in police officers, it will not replace the 2,000 uniformed staff lost since 2010 when Government spending cuts began to bite.
With the average cost of salary and training for police officers set at £50,000 a year, Mr Jamieson’s plan will cost £50 million if implemented in full.
He aims to cover the cost by investing in new technology, which he said would save police time and reduce costs.
The PCC, who was re-elected earlier this month, has announced proposals to form a police cadet force and will also push ahead with a substantial increase in the number of Special Constables the force can call on.
Mr Jamieson rejected the suggestion that the Special Constables, who are unpaid but have powers of arrest and typically work about 10 hours a month, were a means of replacing full time jobs lost since 2010.
We should be recruiting Special Constables whether we have cuts or not. This is not about backfilling full time officers.
Most other police areas are just reducing staff and you are seeing an ageing force. You don’t need to be Einstein to recognise that you need younger people coming in.
The cadet force will be open to young people between the ages of 13 and 18 and will initially be targeted in “challenging” inner city areas such as Handsworth and Lozells in Birmingham.
Mr Jamieson said he wanted to encourage voluntary service among young people.
It may be sport or physical activity or simply taking a pride in your local area.
The cadet force proposal is at a very early stage. Mr Jamieson said he hoped membership would be in the hundreds to start with. The cadets could be overseen by retired police officers and might meet in schools or community centres.
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