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Shropshire Star comment: More police recruits a welcome start

By Shropshire Star | Opinions | Published:

The first wave of 6,000 new police officers are in the process of being recruited – and not before time.

Nationally, crime has increased year-on-year for the past decade, but the number of officers has dropped drastically.

It took a while, but the Home Office finally appears to have cottoned on to the fact that the two elements just might be connected.

Across the forces operating in the West Midlands, there will be an initial boost of 590 new officers, with chief constables hoping for thousands more over the next three years. Overall, the Government has pledged to bring in 20,000 new officers by 2023.

Nearly 100 new officers will be hired by West Mercia Police as part of the drive.

Predictably, opposition politicians have sought to use the announcement as a stick with which to beat the Government, with Labour and the Lib Dems keen to point out that the number of new recruits fails to cover the officers that have been lost over the last nine years of Tory cuts.

Others will argue that it was Labour’s mismanagement of the public purse that led to austerity in the first place.

As for the Lib Dems, some will point out they were far less vocal on the issue of police funding when part of the coalition government which brought in the very cuts they are complaining about now.

Regardless, on his first day in office Boris Johnson vowed to boost police numbers, and he seems to be doing precisely that.

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The nation’s crime epidemic should not be used as a means to score cheap political points. We need all of the agencies involved – as well as our political parties – to work together to tackle the issue head on.

The fact is that while extra officers will certainly be welcomed by the law abiding public, they will not solve the issue of rising crime alone.

Tackling the societal issues that have led too many youngsters into violence over the past decade is a major responsibility that falls upon us all.

Mr Johnson at least seems to have a plan in place to get the ball rolling.

Whether his Government is around long enough to see it through is another matter entirely.

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