Beds Police boosted with 74 extra officers in its ranks
Bedfordshire Police has dozens more police officers as part of the government’s pledge to swell police forces’ ranks, new figures reveal.
Bedfordshire Police has dozens more police officers as part of the Government’s pledge to swell police forces’ ranks, new figures reveal.
The National Police Chiefs' Council said the extra officers will help fight crime but added there is more work to be done to make forces representative of the communities they serve.
Bedfordshire's police force took on 275 recruits from October 2019 to the end of March this year through the Home Office recruitment drive, bringing the officer headcount to 1,351, provisional data shows.
Allowing for leavers, it means 74 extra police officers have been added to the ranks.
Across England and Wales forces have added an extra 8,771 officers to their ranks through the scheme, which aims to add an extra 20,000 by March 2023.
Martin Hewitt, chairman of the National Police Chiefs' Council, said he welcomed the additional police officer numbers.
He said: "Recruitment has exceeded the 6,000-officer target and these additional officers are much welcomed by forces and the public.
“For the first time, there is a national approach to recruitment which will ease the pressure on policing, help us to reduce crime and improve outcomes for victims."
The Home Office said a focus on recruiting more women police officers through the campaign had led to more females being employed as officers in forces across England and Wales than ever before.
But at Bedfordshire Police, out of 174 new officers in the 2020-21 financial year, 62 were women - 36% of recruits.
This is unlikely to have much of an impact on the proportion of women police officers, which stood at 37% in March last year.
That figure has, however, risen from 32% in 2016.
Mr Hewitt said the continued recruitment programme for forces gave a further opportunity to improve diversity. Bedfordshire has been set the target of recruiting an additional 53 police officers by March next year.
Mr Hewitt said: "Good steps forward have been taken, however there is much more to do to build a workforce that is truly representative of the communities we serve."