PCC Donna Jones announces Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary has successfully recruited 600 more police officers
26 April 2023
0 More Police Officers
Police and Crime Commissioner Donna Jones has today announced the force has reached its target to recruit 600 additional police officers.
The announcement comes following the government’s police uplift target launched in 2020 to recruit 20,000 extra police officers across the country by 2023.
The government set Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary a target of 498 additional officers. However PCC Donna Jones went one step further and pledged an extra 102 police officers, bringing the total target for the force to 600.
Today, she said: “As Police Commissioner, increasing police numbers to keep you and your family safe has been my number one priority in my Police and Crime Plan, More Police Safer Streets, since being elected in May 2021.
“Since day one, the public told me they want to see more police and have safer streets and that’s why I increased the target for the force.
“I’m delighted to announce today the force has now surpassed the government’s target and recruited a net increase of 600 officers, which is over and above replacing those who leave or retire.
“It has been the largest recruitment drive the force has ever delivered.
“The new recruits I have met have been passionate and eager to start their careers catching criminals and making the streets safer; it is clear they have joined the job to keep communities safe from harm.
“These extra 600 are the first step.
“I have since announced another 50 will be recruited in the coming year as part of my 2023/24 budget plan. But I want to go further, I want to get to one thousand quickly as we possibly can.
“Both the Chief Constable and I are resolute in our mission to strengthen local policing teams who connect with their communities.
“As your Police and Crime Commissioner, I pledge, to the people who live across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, that I will spend every pound of public money on giving you more police, increased visibility and bringing criminals to justice quickly.”
Chief Constable Scott Chilton said: “To have achieved our uplift target is an enormous achievement for our force and it has been an exciting time welcoming these new recruits into our police family.
“This has been a challenging undertaking so it is testament to the extraordinary work that has been carried out across the force that we are celebrating this milestone today.
“When I became chief, I was clear on my priorities. Exceptional local policing, having strong relationships with our communities, relentlessly pursuing those who commit crime and bring harm and misery to others, and ensuring kindness and compassion are at the heart of our response to victims. These extra officers are key to helping us achieve this by being visible on the frontline. In my first month, I also appointed Area Commanders to lead a new geographical model of policing, restoring a crucial link with our communities. This is the first step of building stronger relationships which are the bedrock of local policing.
“Our force also now better reflects the communities we serve than ever before, but we know we have more to do here. As part of this, I wanted to make sure that it was easier for those who wanted to join policing to be able to do so. Our new Policing PLUS scheme removes the requirement to complete a degree and gets our student officers out of the classroom quicker, putting thousands of hours of police time back into communities with on the job training.
“I hope this will give even more people the trust and confidence in us to do what we can to make Hampshire and the Isle of Wight a safer place for all.”
Meet a new recruit
PC Callum Ridley-Stuart is 25-years-old and joined the force in 2022. Previously, Callum worked in a gym but when the opportunity arose to join the police, he couldn’t resist applying for his dream job.
PC Ridley-Stuart said: “It’s a very rewarding role. Getting to see people at their lowest point and knowing you are the person to help them through it and make that difference is really rewarding.
“There are days when you go home feeling very satisfied with the work you’ve done that day. I don’t think there’s a feeling like it.
Speaking about the training and feeling prepared for the job, Callum said: “You build quite a close bond with those you around you, going into quite an intense role. Everyone has a mix of backgrounds. Everyone has been very supportive.
“My advice to someone who is thinking about joining the police would be to take that jump, take that step. It’s unlike any job you’ve ever done or will probably ever will do.
“There’s no better feeling going home knowing you’ve made a difference to someone’s life.”