Staffordshire Police force to take on 30 new bobbies
THIRTY officers are to be recruited by a police force – signalling the end of a three-year recruitment freeze.
The Sentinel revealed yesterday how Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Matthew Ellis is to authorise employing more officers for the first time since February 2010.
He will also end the 'A19' rule which forced officers to retire after 30 years.
The move means around 30 new bobbies will be taken on in the coming months.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
And 21 of the longest-serving officers, who were due to leave before Christmas, will be offered the chance to carry on working for the force.
Staffordshire Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, hailed the plan as a much-needed morale boost.
Financial plans drawn up by the now-abolished police authority to shoulder cuts of £34 million over four years left no room for recruitment without an increase in the policy levy on council tax.
But Mr Ellis said a thorough review of the force's accounts had revealed an opportunity to rethink the policy.
Chief Constable Mike Cunningham today welcomed the move, saying: "I fully support the decision to switch off A19 and begin some limited recruitment. I have contacted the officers facing A19 prior to January 1 to inform them of the decision and given them the option to stay.
"This is positive news which will help us be more visible in our communities and drive down crime even further."
The recruitment freeze and imposition of A19 has seen the number of officers fall from a 2006 peak of 2,347 to 1,915, with numbers set to reach 1,750 by 2015. It has also seen the number of officers aged under 25 slump to a record low of 17.
Funding new recruitment will not stop numbers continuing to fall overall, but it will reduce the pace and help ensure officers are not forced out.
Police federation chairman Andy Adams said: "Mr Ellis's mantra before the election was getting cops on to the streets and improving visibility, and by recruiting officers he can go a long way to achieve that.
"We will keep an eye on how it pans out, but overall I'm pleased.
"It should inject some much-needed morale into the organisation because A19, cuts and the issues over pay and pensions in the background has led to nothing but doom and gloom.
"In the current situation there's a danger you create a skills gap. Nobody new is being recruited and you are losing the most experienced people at the other end.
"If we can recruit 30 officers next year it will be fantastic."
Mr Ellis said: "It is the right decision for the police service in Staffordshire so that we can continue to drive down crime.
"During the next three years I want people across all of Staffordshire to see the positive difference that the role of PCC will make.
"Opportunities for more joint working, efficiencies and collaboration with other agencies in Staffordshire will mean that we will meet our financial obligations in the future whilst crucially ensuring that jobs and prosperity stay, wherever possible, within Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent."