Police numbers must be put in perspective – The Yorkshire Post says

IT will be disingenuous of Ministers to use phrases like ‘new’ or ‘additional’ when referring to the bolstering of police ranks by 3,005 officers, including 335 in this region’s four forces.

Boris Johnson's first visit to Yorkshire as Prime Minister was an unforgettable one for these police recruits in Wakefield.

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Though their presence on the so-called ‘blue line’ will be welcomed, they need to be set in wider policing – and political – context.

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This month will witness the 10th anniversary of the Tories and Lib Dems coming to power, and Theresa May being made Home Secretary. Then there were 143,000 officers. By the time Mrs May stepped down as Prime Minister last summer, and was replaced by one Boris Johnson, that number had dropped to 123,171 posts – a reduction of nearly 20,000.

Police have been playing a key role in the response to Covid-19.

Yet, while Ministers will blame crime commissioners and chief constables who, in turn, will say that they were forced into such decisions by austerity cuts, Mr Johnson’s pledge to recruit 20,000 new officers was tantamount to admitting that the approach undertaken by former governments was erroneous.

As such, The Yorkshire Post, for one, looks forward to the Home Office providing, at the very least, quarterly updates on the rate of recruitment so voters can see if the Government is honouring its commitments – trust matters more than ever on issues like this.

And while it will take time for new recruits to gain the necessary experience, they – and their fellow officers – also deserve our thanks, and praise, for their response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

They, too, are key workers worthy of recognition because of the risks that they are having to take to protect the public and respond to the disturbing increase in domestic violence offences.

Priti Patel is the current Home Secretary.

Editor’s note: first and foremost - and rarely have I written down these words with more sincerity - I hope this finds you well.

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Sincerely. Thank you.

James Mitchinson