The Home Office, the National Police Chiefs’ Council, the College of Policing and all forces are working flat out to recruit 20,000 new police officers, supported by £700 million from the taxpayer.
This Government were elected on a pledge to recruit 20,000 more frontline police officers—something that is very important to people in Fylde. Will my hon. Friend update the House on how many people have joined the police since the recruitment drive was launched? Will he confirm that we are on target to deliver on that promise?
I well understand my hon. Friend’s impatience for his area to see an increase in police officers. That impatience is shared by me, the Home Secretary and probably everybody in the country. He will be pleased to hear that we have now had more than 100,000 applicants to be police officers and recruited a little over 4,300. We are ahead of schedule.
With the tragic death of rugby player Sergeant Matt Ratana, we are reminded of the very dangerous work that police officers do on our behalf. Will the Minister join me in paying tribute to Warwickshire’s Conservative police and crime commissioner, Philip Seccombe, who has used his own powers on top of additional Government funding to bring in an extra 216 officers, with new officers in vehicle crime teams and enhanced safer neighbourhood teams, more detectives and more 999 response officers?
My hon. Friend is quite right: it has been a sombre weekend for us all, with the tragic events of Friday reinforced by Police Memorial Day just yesterday. I am pleased to congratulate Philip Seccombe, with whom I have had many meetings in the last year or so, on his efforts to increase the number of police officers out there, which will make everybody in Warwickshire and, indeed, across the country, safer.