Boris Johnson vows to reverse Tory police cuts with 20,000 more officers
Boris Johnson has vowed to reverse the cuts to police numbers made under successive Tory governments if he becomes Prime Minister.
The frontrunner to become the next Prime Minister has set out his plans to put 20,000 new officers on the street by 2022, at a cost of more than £1 billion.
He said we “need to increase the physical presence” of the police to help tackle “soaring crime levels” across the country.
The extra officers will be hired “with a particular focus on rural areas that have seen the biggest reductions in police funding”, he said.
But the increase of 20,000 will still not even cover the reduction in the police workforce since the Conservatives took office nine years ago.
According to the National Audit Office it has fallen from 143,734 in 2010 to 122,404 in 2018, an 18% drop to the lowest levels since the 1980s.
Mr Johnson said: “Soaring crime levels are destroying lives across the country and we urgently need to tackle this.
“To keep our streets safe and cut crime, we need to continue to give the police the tools they need and crucially we need to increase the physical presence of police on our streets.
“That’s why I will be increasing police numbers by 20,000. More police on our streets means more people are kept safe.”
Explaining this was an echo of his experience in trying to cut crime in charge of the nation’s capital, he added: “We want to make sure we keep the number of police officers high and we need to keep visible frontline policing.
“That’s what we did in London and that’s what I want to in the whole of the UK to cut crime and keep people safe.”
The hiring programme will be phased out over the course of the coming Parliament, with the increase set to be completed by 2022.
Assuming medium gross earnings of £45,000 per officer plus National Insurance Contributions the extra workforce will cost the taxpayer around £1.1 billion per year.
As well as a reduction in officer numbers funding for police forces was cut by 19% in real terms between 2010/11 and 2018/19, compared to a 31% increase in funding between 2000/01 and 2010/11 under the last Labour government.
But earlier this year a police funding settlement for 2019/20 was approved by the Commons, with an increase of up to £970 million compared to 2018/19.