Giles Watling, MP for Clacton, has welcomed the announcement that Essex Police has been bolstered by an additional 101 officers.
These new officers are a consequence of the Government’s major police recruitment drive, which began over a year ago, and there are now 3,316 police officers across Essex, meaning that there are now more frontline officers on our streets to keep the public safe. This is also the highest number of officers active in the force since 2013, and significantly higher than before Giles’ election in 2017.
Since the launch of the Government’s recruitment campaign one year ago, a total of 6,620 extra officers have joined police forces across England and Wales. These statistics confirm that the Government remains on track to meet its manifesto commitment of recruiting 20,000 extra officers by 2023 and has hit the target of recruiting 6,000 new officers by March 2021 well ahead of schedule.
This recruitment drive is at the centre of the Government’s commitment to back the police with more resources, powers and support to keep the public and their communities safe.
Alongside the recruitment campaign, the Government has announced the second round of the Safer Streets Fund, backed by £20 million of new money, to crack down on neighbourhood crimes that blight our communities. This funding will enable PCC’s and Local Authorities to make crime cutting interventions in residential areas to ensure people feel safe in their communities.
Other steps to support frontline police officers include a £636 million funding boost for police forces this year, bringing the total for police funding up to £15.8 billion, boosting police pay by 2.5 per cent, equivalent to a constable receiving an extra £1,100, and enshrining a new police covenant into law, which will offer enhanced support and protection for frontline officers.
Commenting, Giles said:
“Having previously led a campaign in Parliament to increase police funding, I am always pleased to see new officers join the force. I am also pleased that this national drive started here in Clacton. I was re-elected on a promise to get more officers onto the streets and to ensure our police have what they need to keep us safe. That is what we are doing, and those new officers are operating now in our area.
“Next year, Essex Police will also receive an additional £18.8m in its funding next year, thanks to the Government’s increase to police budgets. And I know that our local Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner will be looking to recruit additional officers over that next budget period.
“Every one of these officers will make an enormous difference in helping to cut crime and keep people safe – and I know that many more will follow as this Government continues to deliver on its promise to recruit 20,000 more over the next three years.
“By backing our police with the funding, powers and resources they need, we are keeping the public and our communities safe, so that people everywhere can live their lives free from the fear of crime and antisocial behaviour.”
Home Secretary, Rt Hon Priti Patel MP, said:
“I am determined to make our streets safer, which is why I am delighted we have beaten our own target to recruit 6,000 additional police officers by March 2021.
“Many of these new officers are already on our streets helping to fight the coronavirus pandemic, and for that they get my huge thanks.
“These new officers, on top of further funding to tackle crimes such as burglary, robbery and vehicle crime will ensure the police have the powers, tools and resources they need to cut crime and make you feel safer in your community.”
The Government's actions to support the police include:
- Recruiting 20,000 new police officers, keeping our streets safe. We have already recruited 6,620 new officers, and we are on track to recruit 20,000 extra officers by 2023. As part of this year’s £636 million boost to the police funding settlement, more than £400 million will go towards recruiting additional officers (Home Office, News Story, 29 October 2020, link).
- Boosting police funding by £636 million this year, ensuring our frontline officers have everything need to keep us safe. This brings total police funding up to £15.8 billion for 2021-2022, including £400 million to recruit 20,000 new officers by 2023, £914 million for counter-terrorism policing, and £1.1 billion to target national priorities such as reducing serious violence and clamping down on county lines (Home Office, News Story, 17 December 2020, link).
- Increasing police pay by 2.5 per cent this year, ensuring policing remains an attractive career for everyone. This is the second consecutive year that police pay has risen by 2.5 per cent, which is equivalent to a constable receiving an extra £1,100. This is the largest pay increase for forces since 2010 (Home Office, News Story, 21 July 2020, link).
- Enshrining a new police covenant into law, enhancing support and protection for our frontline police officers. The initial focus of the covenant will be on physical protection, health and wellbeing, as well as support for families. It will also create a statutory duty for the Government to do more to support the police, both those currently serving and retired (Home Office, News Story, 8 September 2020, link).
- Delivering an additional £20 million to crack down on neighbourhood crimes that blight our communities. This new money forms the second part of the Safer Streets Fund that was launched in January 2020 and brings total funding to £45 million over two years. This funding will enable PCC’s and Local Authorities to make crime cutting interventions in residential areas to ensure people feel safe in their communities.
- Dismantling county lines gangs through a £40 million funding boost, keeping our towns and children safe from drug gangs. The £40 million of new money to tackle county lines and drugs supply brings the total invested to £65 million since November 2019. The funding has already seen more than 3,400 people arrested, more than 550 lines closed, more than £9 million street value of drugs and £1.5 million cash seized and more than 770 vulnerable people safeguarded (Home Office, Press Release, 20 January 2021, link).
- Delivering £148 million of new investment to cut crime and protect communities from the scourge of illegal drugs. This funding represents a comprehensive drive to cut drug-fuelled crime and violence in communities as we build back our country safer after the pandemic. Our investment includes £28 million for Project ADDER that brings together the police and drug recovery services to target and reduce drug-related offending and drug use (Home Office, Press Release, 20 January 2021, link).
- Toughening up sentences for assaulting emergency workers, recognising the debt of gratitude the public feels towards them. In line with our manifesto commitment, we are bringing forward legislation to double the maximum sentence for those convicted of assaults on frontline staff including police officers, firefighters, and paramedics (Home Office, Press Release, 13 July 2021, link).
- Cutting crime by 4 per cent over the last year, delivering on our promise to the British people to keep them safe. Between June 2019 and June 2020, crime levels fell by 4 per cent. This included significant reductions in theft (down 15 per cent), robbery (down 10 per cent), sexual offences (down 7 per cent) and an 8 per cent fall in criminal damage and arson offences (Office for National Statistics, 28 October 2020, link).
The Government are also supporting our police through coronavirus by:
- Delivering an extra £30 million to help the police enforce coronavirus regulations, helping to protect the NHS and save lives. The £30 million funding will allow police forces to increase patrols in town centres, ensuring that people are complying with the new restrictions, particularly in high-risk areas (Home Office, News Story, 8 October 2020, link).
- Increasing police powers to fine people who host and attend illegal gatherings, giving our officers the powers to enforce the rules and save lives. We have introduced increased fines of £800 for those attending house parties of over 15 people, which will double for each offence up to £6,400. As we all work to fight the virus and protect lives, we are backing our police to move more quickly to handing out fines where they encounter breaches (Home Office, Speech, 21 January 2021, link).
- Launching an income loss recovery scheme for police forces, help them to recover a proportion of income they have been losing due to the pandemic. The scheme will apply to sales, fees and charges where forces would usually generate income, such as policing of sporting fixtures or providing security at airports. The scheme will enable forces to recover 75p in every £1 of budgeted income lost due to COVID-19 restrictions this financial year, once forces have absorbed 5 per cent of those losses themselves (Home Office, Guidance, 8 October 2020, link).