Uplift Programme Is A Policing ‘Sticking Plaster’

MORE needs to be done to recruit and retain officers who are fed up with “putting sticking plasters” on crime problems.

The Government has hailed its recruitment of 20,000 new officers under the uplift programme, but this is merely making up for the many officers lost over the past decade, Hampshire Police Federation has said.

The Police Federation of England and Wales has called for another 30,000 officers nationally to cover population rises and increases and changes to policing demand.

Hampshire Police Federation Chair Zoë Wakefield said: “We’re recruiting around 50 officers every other month, or every month. But we’ve got around 30 leaving every month. So to actually increase numbers, for it to make a big impact, it’s very, very slow. You can’t just recruit. You’ve got to then focus on why people are leaving and stop those people from leaving as well, otherwise your numbers are only dribbling up.

“It’s not an extra 20,000. We’re not even getting to the point where we’ve replaced everybody that’s been lost.

“Demand’s gone up and policing and crime has changed and we haven’t necessarily got the right people trained in the right areas. It’s going to take a long time for these 20,000 officers to become fully competent and experienced with all the necessary skills.

“Officers feel they’re going to jobs and they’re putting a sticking plaster over it. They haven’t got the time or the resources to actually deal with the problems effectively – and they feel like they’re letting victims down.

“We need more officers, we need to pay them better and we need to look at why people are leaving and stop that.”

PFEW Deputy National Chair Tiff Lynch has warned that crime is “outstripping resources”. In a blog she said: “At the moment, police officers cannot give the public the service they want to because they are constantly responding reactively rather than being proactive, and our detectives are being tied up in red tape through overcomplicated processes.

“We also know large chunks of officers’ shifts are being spent supporting people with mental health issues and waiting with them for hours at hospitals. Of course, officers are there to protect people when they are at their most vulnerable, but it is very clear the public wants police to focus on crime instead – and it is vital their views are taken into account.

“We are the service of last resort, but it is impossible to do everything when police are doing their best to protect four million more members of the public from an increasingly violent society and evolving crime with just over 1000 additional officers in comparison to 2009 when levels were at their peak, before a dangerous number of cuts were made.”

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