Home Office figures show Force has met recruitment target

Dyfed Powys Police has met its target of recruiting new officers under the Government’s Police Uplift Programme, new Home Office figures show.

The Force was told to take on an extra 141 officers when the scheme was launched in 2019 and now employs 1,317 officers compared to 1,163 when the uplift campaign began - an increase of 154.

The current headcount is higher than 2010 when force budgets were reduced during austerity measures. It then stood at 1,181 but that figure had fallen as low as 1,103 by the start of 2019 after several years of austerity-led funding cuts.

Dyfed Powys Police Federation chair Gareth Jones welcomed the increase in officer numbers and said he looked forward to working alongside the new recruits.

But he added: “The influx of new recruits was desperately needed but in real terms the Police Uplift Programme has simply replaced all those experienced officers we have lost over the last decade or so.

“And if you take population growth into account and the increased demands on policing over that period of time then I think we’re still probably some way off from where we need to be when it comes to officer numbers.

“However,  the increase is to be welcomed and the Force must now ensure it does all it can to make sure those new recruits are well looked after and supported as they begin their careers in policing.”

Gareth Jones said the Force must do all it can to retain the new recruits

Nationwide, a total of 20,951 extra recruits have joined the service under the Police Uplift Programme.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Twitter: “In 2019 we promised to recruit 20,000 additional police officers in England and Wales to make our streets safer and protect communities. Today, I’m pleased to say we have delivered that promise.”

Home Secretary Suella Braverman described it as a “historic moment for our country”.

During a speech in Westminster, she said: “We should be immensely proud of what we’ve achieved in the last few years.

“Many said we couldn’t do it but this is a police success, a Home Office success and a Conservative Government success.”

Ms Braverman denied that policing was the “failure of austerity” and insisted the new recruitment figures were a success.

Asked whether it was fair to say that cuts to the police service in previous years had been a “problem”, she replied: “No. Since 2010, we see that overall crime has fallen. When you take out fraud and online crime, it’s almost 50 per cent lower than it was in 2010.”

Police Federation national chair Steve Hartshorn said the latest figures did not stand up to scrutiny.

He said: “The reality is, considering population growth of more than four million since 2010, even with an uplift of 20,000 officers, we will have fewer officers on the streets than we had a decade ago.

“Half of all police forces now have fewer officers than they had in 2010 and voluntary resignations have almost doubled.”