Avon and Somerset Police will get an additional 137 new officers next year as part of the Home Office drive to recruit 20,000 nationally by 2022.
The Home Secretary announced earlier this week that every police force in England and Wales has been set recruitment targets as part of the first stage in the uplift, which will see the government supporting forces to recruit up to 6,000 additional officers by the end of 2020-21.
In Avon and Somerset, the constabulary will be building on the 100 officers recruited over the last year as part of Operation Remedy.
Remedy, which was funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner asking for an increase in the policing part of the council tax precept last year, focuses on tackling burglary, drugs and knife crime.
Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “I am delighted to confirm that Avon and Somerset Constabulary will be recruiting an additional 137 officers next year as part of the government’s aim to strengthen police forces across the country.
“Local people have been very clear; they want to see more police officers on their streets tackling the issues that matter most to the community.
“We are in a great position in that we have been busy this year recruiting officers for Op Remedy and we recently launched the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship with UWE.
“The Chief and I are looking forward to getting the 137 new officers on board, enrolled onto the apprenticeship and out on the ground keeping local people safe.”
Mark Shelford, the Conservative candidate to be Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner in the May 2020 elections, said: “I am delighted with the announcement that Avon and Somerset is due to get another 137 extra officers as part of the 6,000 target in year one and I am encouraging the Chief Constable, Andy Marsh, to go further and recruit over and above this announcement.
“We need officers spread throughout the constabulary to tackle rural crime as well as that centred on major metropolitan areas.
“The public want the police to start properly gripping knife crime associated with county lines, anti-social behaviour, speeding and dangerous driving.
“This will definitely improve the situation but more is to be done and today I am calling on the present PCC, Sue Mountstevens, to be clear with the residents of Avon and Somerset on what her plans are for these extra officers and how they will address residents’ priorities, particularly in rural communities.”
Annabel Tall, the Conservative Parliamentary candidate for Bath, said: “We are fortunate in Bath to have very low rates of crime – we live in a very safe place.
“However, Bath residents are concerned that they do not see local police on the street as much as they used to, so I am delighted that we will be seeing an additional 137 police officers in the Avon and Somerset area recruited in 2020/21 and an additional 20,000 officers keeping us safe nationally over the next three years.”