Momentum to recruit extra officers promised by Government continues in Wiltshire
Sixty-seven additional officers have joined Wiltshire Police so far as part of the Uplift programme to recruit an additional 20,000 officers across the country.
The Government's national campaign is set to fund a total of 157 new officers for Wiltshire, plus six who will be seconded to work in the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SW ROCU). This will allow Wiltshire Police to increase its full-time equivalent police officer numbers to 1,165 by March 2023.
More than 200 new officers have joined the Force since the start of the Uplift programme in September 2019 and a further 160 student officers are set to start in the next 14 months to the end of the programme in March 2023, this is made up of both additional uplift officers and those recruited to replace leavers.
Residents, and communities, consistently ask for greater visibility of police officers and better engagement. This uplift will boost Wiltshire Police’s efforts in this area and will mean the highest number of police officers from its lowest figure of 934.
Police and Crime Commissioner, Philip Wilkinson said: “I have heard loud and clear that residents in Wiltshire want to see an improved, and more visible police service from Wiltshire Police and these additional officers will play a key role in delivering that.
“The majority of the additional officers recruited so far have been deployed to Community Policing Teams with the focus of improving neighbourhood policing and community engagement.”
Not a quick fix
Additional officers provide a much-needed bolster for the Force to better protect communities support victims and help make Wiltshire safer, but PCC Philip Wilkinson warned that the policing service won’t change overnight.
“While these additional officers are of course a very welcome addition to Wiltshire, they are not a quick fix and it will take time before a meaningful difference is seen within our communities.
“It takes two to three years for a student officer to move through training and become fully independent, which includes the initial five months in the classroom.
“This is in addition to the nine-18months it takes to get a student officer into the classroom following recruitment, vetting and medical checks.
“That said, we’re already starting to see the initial benefits of these additional officers and I continue to work with the Chief Constable to ensure that visible community policing remains central to future plans.”
Wiltshire Police will open officer recruitment again in the Spring and aspiring officers are encouraged to register their details with the Force’s talent bank.