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The Government today announced it has reached its target to recruit 20,000 new police officers in England and Wales.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster has issued the following response:

“The government has been patting itself on the back after recruiting new police officers, but the truth is that it is simply returning some of the officers it took off us in the years following 2010. 

“Here in the West Midlands, we are still 1,000 officers down compared to just over a decade ago. There is no levelling up when it comes to our police officers and sadly, that means crime is not being prevented, more crimes are going unpunished and more people are becoming victims.”

Earlier this month, the PCC welcomed the recruitment of more than 200 new student officers to West Midlands Police – but again issued a stark warning for the future.

He said: “Whilst I welcomed the recruitment of these new officers and congratulate West Midlands Police on its successful recruitment drive, it is clear there is still much more to be done to rebuild policing in the region.

“Reckless financial cuts, imposed by the government, saw us lose more than 2,000 police officers – 25% of our police officers – and many hundreds of essential police staff, including 300 Police Community Support Officers. Community policing was dismantled. That was a big mistake, counter-productive and a false economy.

“Government cuts to policing have had a serious adverse impact on police visibility, response times, the conduct of investigations and the ability of West Midlands Police to prevent and tackle crime. We have all been paying the price, with less justice, safety and security.

“In addition, the government continues to support a police funding formula that costs the West Midlands £40 million a year, the equivalent of 800 police officers; allocated us the fifth worst financial settlement in the country; and have left West Midlands Police with a budget deficit of £28.1 million.

“I am committed to constant and unremitting action to rebuild community policing and to prevent, tackle and reduce crime. We need a government that will invest in policing, community safety and our criminal justice system, to keep people, their families and communities safe and secure.”

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