01 February 2021
Federation chair Steve Treharne says South Wales Police’s new recruits are a welcome addition to the Force at a time of unprecedented challenges.
But he said there’s still a lot of work to be done for the Force to meet its Year 1 allocation in the Government’s high-profile recruitment campaign, which aims to increase officer numbers across England and Wales by 20,000.
South Wales Police has recruited 95 new officers in the first year, just over two-thirds of its allocation of 136.
Steve said: “Our new recruits are a welcome addition to the Force. We’re facing an unprecedented challenge of policing the pandemic, keeping the public safe and protecting the NHS, all while we’re continuing to do our day jobs.
“Our new colleagues will make a positive difference to the work we’re doing and we wish them well.
“However, it’s disappointing that, while nationally the Government’s recruitment drive is ahead of schedule, here in South Wales we’re more than 20 per cent down on our allocation.
“There’s a lot of hard work needed, not only to get us back on track with our recruitment, but also to ensure that we’re able to retain our new recruits and our more experienced colleagues.”
The latest Home Office figures show that since April 2020, 42 per cent of new recruits to South Wales Police have been female, and 1.7 per cent have been people who stated their ethnicity were from a Black, Asian, mixed, or other ethnic group.
“It’s important we’re doing all we can to ensure we reflect the communities we serve,” said Steve.
Nationally, the Home Office figures show there were 135,248 officers in the 43 police forces in England and Wales as at 31 December. That’s an increase of 6,814 officers, with 6,620 of them coming through the Government’s recruitment drive. The rest have been funded through local funds, the report says.
John Apter, national chair of the Police Federation, said: “With demands on police officers increasing and the continuing challenge policing the pandemic, it’s good to see the number of new recruits increasing.
“There simply aren’t enough officers at this time and the pandemic has shown just how fragile the resilience of the police service is as more and more officers report sick or self-isolate.”
He added: “We need to ensure there’s a consistent long-term recruitment programme and that everything possible is done not just to recruit, but also to retain those who join.
“We also need to see ensure that we don’t drive down the average age of recruits and continue to attract people with life experience. In addition, we need to use this recruitment drive to ensure a diverse police service, so that forces fully reflect the communities they serve.”