British prime minister promises to ‘make our streets safer’ by recruiting more cops
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has vowed to fight spiraling UK crime head-on as he pledges to “make our streets safer” by starting to recruit 20,000 new police officers “within weeks.”
The new PM also revealed he has ordered an urgent review of plans to make it easier for law enforcement to use stop-and-search powers.
The recruitment drive is one of Mr. Johnson’s Tory leadership campaign promises.
Forces will start recruiting in September and BoJo wants it completed within a three-year deadline.
“As I said on the steps of Downing Street this week, my job as Prime Minister is to make our streets safer,” Mr. Johnson said.
“People want to see more officers in their neighborhoods, protecting the public and cutting crime.
“I promised 20,000 extra officers and that recruitment will now start in earnest.”
According to the Evening Standard, the Government will also urgently review pilot schemes which make it easier for forces in England and Wales to carry out stop-and-search operations under Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act.
Seven forces have been piloting changes under which the rank required to authorize a Section 60 order has been lowered to inspector.
In addition, the degree of certainty required has been lowered, so that the authorizing officer must reasonably believe serious violence “may” occur.
Downing Street said that the pilot schemes would be reviewed with a view to rolling them out across all forces.
In his fiery debut as British Prime Minister, #BorisJohnson took aim at the Labour Party’s leader, blasting socialist #JeremyCorbyn as a “brainwashed Remainer.”
READ MORE: https://t.co/dMgUkbzweT#BrexitNews
— Neon Nettle (@NeonNettle) July 26, 2019
Mr. Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel have also set out plans for a new national policing board.
The panel will be chaired by the Home Secretary and bring together key police leaders, holding them to account for meeting the 20,000 officers target and working on a national response to other issues.
Ms. Patel said: “Officers up and down the country put themselves in danger every day to keep us safe, they deserve our support.
“The rise we’ve seen in serious violence is deeply worrying.
“An additional 20,000 officers sends a clear message that we are committed to giving police the resources they need to tackle the scourge of crime.
“This is the start of a new relationship between the Government and the police working even more closely together to protect the public.”
Shadow police minister Louise Haigh said: “When it comes to policing, Boris Johnson simply cannot be trusted.
“He served in a government which promised to protect the police, then voted for brutal real-terms cuts.
“As mayor of London, he vowed to recruit thousands of officers, but police numbers fell on his watch.
“The damage caused by these broken promises and brutal cuts cannot be reversed and the know-how that thousands of experienced bobbies brought to the job is gone for good – at a time when we’ve never needed it more.”
National Police Chiefs’ Council chairman Martin Hewitt said: “This substantial growth in police officers will ease the pressure on our people and help us to reduce crime and improve outcomes for victims.
“It is also an incredible opportunity to accelerate our plans to increase diversity in policing.
“We will work closely with the College of Policing and the Government on the detail and practical implications of such a significant recruitment drive.”
The College of Policing described the move as a “huge opportunity” to get a more diverse workforce that is up to scratch on modern methods.
But chief executive Mike Cunningham warned of a series of challenges in achieving the ambition, following the closure of police stations across the country and concerns over the lack of training instructors.
“There are a wide variety of logistical challenges that come with the recruitment process,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today program.
“Not just getting people through the doors, (but) the assessment process, the attraction, recruitment campaigns, the vetting, all of those sorts of logistical challenges, and then, of course, training people, making sure they are fit for the responsibilities that they have.”