Operation Uplift is the UK Government's pledge to recruit 20,000 new police officers across the UK before the end of March 2023.
Between March 2019 and March 2020, it has been reported that the figures were on track, with the number of officers rising from 125,811 to 131,596.
For years, it was a concern that there simply weren’t enough police officers, and forces were increasingly struggling to meet the demands of their respective areas.
This news was initially greatly received. In July 2019, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said "People want to see more officers in their neighbourhoods, protecting the public and cutting crime."
But, if you work for/have worked for the police, you will know that it’s not that simple. You can’t just apply for a role on a Friday, have a chat with a hiring manager, and rock up to work on the Monday. There is an enormous logistical problem to overcome with recruiting this many people into such a secure and highly responsible role.
The BBC’s Home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw highlighted this in his analysis, saying “The police recruitment plans will have wide appeal both for the public and the overstretched police service. But selecting, vetting, training and accommodating so many officers in a comparatively short period of time is a formidable challenge. New rules requiring candidates to have a degree or study for one on the job may restrict the number of potential applicants in some areas, while in others the competition for skilled workers is so fierce there are fears the target may not be reached”.
But overall, surely the recruitment of 20,000 new police officers is positive news? Well, maybe not, depending on who you are and where you work. There have also been conflicting reports that cuts will need to be made elsewhere, such as in Merseyside, who are suggesting that this could involve a process of “de-civilianisation”, in which police staff are made redundant and police officers are deployed to their back office roles instead.
Jane Kennedy, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside said: “We are now facing the prospect that unless this is addressed the police will be putting police officers into custody suites, into call centres and into administrative roles, when we have spent decades taking them out and putting them back on the streets where the public wants them to be.” This could cause problems further down the line, as many police forces suggest that they cannot emphasise the importance of their civilian staff enough.
The Met Police state on their website “Working for the Met doesn’t have to mean patrolling the streets. Just as important as our uniformed officers is our 14,000-strong team of professional and support staff working behind the scenes. It’s these skilled people who provide the organisational capability to police London.”
What do you think? Should Police Officers be deployed in administrative, or call-centre orientated roles? Do you think this is what will actually happen? Let us know!
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