Hampshire’s police service has been boosted by the news that the force will be recruiting 90 more officers this year than originally planned.
Police and crime commissioner (PCC) Simon Hayes revealed that an additional 108 police officers would be recruited in Hampshire over the next 12 months following the Spending Review in December.
This number will now be increased to 198 following yesterday’s announcement however, as Hampshire Constabulary looks to maintain its numbers following cuts to the service over the last few years.
Mr Hayes opted to increase the number of positions after the force’s council tax precept was increased by 1.99 per cent, with the commissioner reiterating his commitment to protect community policing.
He said: “In some arts of the county, neighbourhood policing his gone, but not here.
“It has, and will remain, a priority for me to protect local neighbourhood policing teams – this is the heart of the British policing model, so valued and respected by the public.
“I am pleased to be able to confirm we will be recruiting an even higher number of officers, and be able to at least maintain our current policing levels into the foreseeable future.”
Home Office statistics revealed last year that there had been a five per cent drop in Hampshire officers from 3,247 to 3,064 in just 12 months, with the county’s police federation predicting that 1,000 posts could be lost by 2017.
And while he applauded the recruitment drive, Hampshire Police Federation chairman John Apter warned that the news wouldn’t undo “the damage that’s been done before”.
He added: “I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth, because this is definitely good for the constabulary.
“We haven’t seen recruitment like this for a number of years which is refreshing and in an ideal world we’d like our numbers to be increased further.
“We can’t undo the damage that’s been done before, but we’re now committing to maintaining our numbers, which is undoubtedly positive.”