More than 100,000 apply to join police during first year of uplift campaign

More than 100,000 people have applied to become police officers during the first year of the Government’s recruitment drive.

Sep 15, 2020
By Tony Thompson
Home Secretary Priti Patel speaking at the 2020 Police Superintendents' Association annual conference.

Provisional data from forces across England and Wales shows they have received almost 101,000 applications between October 2019 and August 2020, as part of plans to sign up 20,000 additional officers over the next three years.

The figures have been released to coincide with the launch of a new television and radio advertising campaign encouraging people to “make a difference” by joining the police.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “This year we have seen people come together in the face of adversity to serve their communities in response to the pandemic.

“It is clear the national emergency has inspired people across the country to become part of our brave, selfless police family. If you want to make a difference, apply today and sign up with our police – they are the best in the world.”

More than 4,300 additional officers have already been recruited and are supporting the emergency services’ response to the virus.

This means forces are on track to meet their first target of 6,000 additional officers in England and Wales by March 2021.

Martin Hewitt, chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said: “The interest already shown in joining the police is very encouraging and brings us closer to an additional 20,000 new recruits.

“I have always said the fact that we’re well on our way to achieving this ambition does not mean we’re complacent, if we truly want to have a police service that reflects our communities we have more to do in reaching out to those currently under-represented.”

The College of Policing has also rolled out online assessment centres, which have been used by 39 police forces to date, to ensure that recruitment continues at pace while social restrictions are in place.

The new process includes an online assessment stage, in which candidates complete a situational judgment test, an interview, briefing exercise and written exercise.

Chief Constable Mike Cunningham, chief executive officer of the College of Policing, said: “It is really pleasing that so many people are applying to join the police service and we will continue to support forces in recruiting additional officers to keep the public safe.

“It has been vital that forces have been able to continue to recruit new officers in spite of the Covid restrictions and I am very happy that we in the college have been able to support the service by introducing new online assessment processes, which have now been used by thousands of candidates.

“We are committed to ensuring that everyone in policing, including the newest recruits, have the knowledge and skills they need to do the job and they will continue to get our full support.”

The new adverts released today show policing’s central role in the community, featuring officers from a range of backgrounds, representing forces including Essex Police and Nottinghamshire Police.

Speaking at the Police Superintendents’ Association’s conference last week, the Home Secretary said that ambition on police diversity “knows no bounds”.

Ms Patel also reiterated that the recruitment of 20,000 additional officers was a “once in a lifetime opportunity” to create a generation of police leaders who better represent the country they serve.

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