My long-standing conviction is that people across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland want more police officers on their streets and in their neighbourhoods. That's why I have resolutely stuck to my guns and tried to replace those officers lost to austerity and ensure our officers are supported by the necessary resources.
Well, I am proud that plans are now in place to bring numbers back up to pre-austerity levels by March 2023.
Over the last five years, the Chief Constable and I have consistently lobbied the Government for a better deal for policing. In 2019, they finally saw sense and introduced the Uplift programme, bringing nearly 280 additional officers to our ranks over three years.
These officers are in addition to the eight additional officers I provided for in 2017, plus the extra 24 in 2018; the 207 new posts recruited over 2019/21 and the further 50 in my budget this year, a figure that will be boosted by another 20 in 2022-23 (dependent on the funding settlement for the year). This growth can be seen across the force area, with more officers on the beat and out and about in response vehicles.
The overall impact means that the number of police officers across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland will rise from 2,104 by March 2021, to 2,242 by March 2022 and 2,342 by March 2023. In 2011 Leicestershire boasted 2,317. I leave things in far better shape than I found them. Diversity is improving too thanks to our Positive Action Strategy and commitment to securing at least one in four recruits from the BAME community.
Some will say that this still isn't enough to cope with modern policing's increasingly complex challenges. We also need to consider the impact of an increasing population. Fifteen years ago, we had one officer per 430 residents. Today we have one officer per 579 residents in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. At the height of austerity it was 601.
We have come a long, long way since the dark days of 2016 and I leave office with the graph moving in the right direction.
10 February 2021
Posted on Sunday 7th February 2021