Extra firearms officers for South Yorkshire Police as force announces new recruitment drive

South Yorkshire Police Chief Constable Stephen Watson. Picture by Chris Etchells.
South Yorkshire Police Chief Constable Stephen Watson. Picture by Chris Etchells.

The ranks of specialist firearms officers employed by South Yorkshire Police is set to increase as part of a move to boost specialist officer numbers by 10 per cent.

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Force Chief Constable Stephen Watson said the recruitment drive is intended to add “real heft” to the work of neighbourhood policing teams, among other priorities.

Extra dog handlers and specialist investigators will also be sought as part of a cohort of 92 new officers.

Combined with earlier announcements, including the recruitment of new neighbourhood officers to replace PCSOs, a total of 220 new officers will join the force’s existing staff of around 2,400 over the next four years.

South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings, said the overall increase was “one of the most significant developments in policing in South Yorkshire” during his time in the role, adding: “This uplift of 220 officers is a first step in beginning to restore the ravages done to policing by the years of austerity and cuts.”

Chief Constable Watson said he was confident that increasing the force’s staff was affordable, and went on to say: “We are committed to increasing numbers of specialist uniformed officers in functions such as firearms, dog patrols and the territorial support group, all designed to add real heft to the work of neighbourhood police teams.”