As we have already discussed, we are in the process of recruiting an extra 20,000 police officers to put violent criminals behind bars, and already we have recruited more than 3,000. We will continue to back the police and deliver on higher police numbers.
Speeding complaints are well and truly up in Bolton North East. All this fast is making my constituents furious. On the day I took part in a community speed watch on Ainsworth Lane, 74 mph was recorded in a 20 mph zone. The problem is particularly severe on Blackburn, Halliwell and Turton Roads. Many of these 20 mph areas are located near schools, yet the speed limit is not enforced. Does the Home Secretary agree that regulations should be introduced to ensure speed limits are adhered to and close a very dangerous loophole to keep my residents safe and put an end to the “Fast & Furious” sequels?
I agree with my hon. Friend about the devastating impact that speeding can have on lives and communities, and he is right to highlight the irresponsible speeds being driven, particularly in residential areas and near schools. We do not plan to legislate, but he will know that police enforcement around speeding is a matter for the police authority itself. I would be happy to work with him if he has particular issues or concerns he would like me to pick up.
I bounced in here this afternoon ready to sing the praises of Thames Valley police force for its positive recruitment campaign, which is ahead of schedule to meet its officer target, but it seems that this is not new news, because every other Conservative Member is similarly pleased with their local force for meeting its police targets and getting those officer numbers up. Will the Home Secretary join me in praising Thames Valley police in Milton Keynes especially for keeping our rural and city centre communities safe?
I commend my hon. Friend for his enthusiasm, his gusto and his support for Thames Valley police. I will share something with the House. I have a soft spot for Thames Valley police. It was one of the first police forces I visited when I became Home Secretary. I visited because of a devastating event that took place—the tragic death of a police officer—and I commend the chief constable, John Campbell, and the officers. They really are an impressive police force. They police a very significant geography and quite frankly are the best of us all, and he is absolutely right to commend them for the work they do.
Getting more officers on to our streets is one of the people’s priorities, which I know is why my right hon. Friend is committed to recruiting 20,000 police officers over the next three years, but can she confirm how many have been recruited in Greater Manchester, and can she also reassure my constituents that they are fully equipped to tackle crime and keep our streets safe?
I thank my hon. Friend for his dedication and support both to policing locally and to his constituents in terms of wanting to keep them safe. It is absolutely right. On recruitment across Greater Manchester, I commend his chief constable, and I can confirm that, as of the end of March, Greater Manchester police had recruited an additional 94 officers towards the year’s allocation, and I can confirm, too, that that number is going up and up. Since our campaign started we have had over 70,00 applicants to become police officers, which is something we should be proud of, because policing is an incredible profession.