They’re bound to be nicknamed “Boris Bobbies” or something similar, so let’s get that out of the way first.
Yes, it seems that after nearly a decade in which police numbers have been cut by more than 20,500, Boris Johnson’s new Conservative government is recruiting again – and intends to replace almost all the lost officers.
Why? More importantly: Why now?
What does BoJob see coming up in the future that might require a larger police force? You know the Conservatives would not be recruiting cops just to sort out crime; they don’t care about poor people preying on each other.
So, what’s coming?
Do you think it might be something to do with Brexit?
Could Mr Johnson’s advisors be predicting some form of unrest as a result of the manner in which he is planning to take us out of the European Union (let’s be honest – he wants a “no deal” Brexit because he couldn’t negotiate a drinks order with the EU27 leaders, let alone a decoupling agreement)?
Just a thought.
And you know the new Tory government isn’t spending any money on crime prevention, like the “public health” model pioneered in Glasgow that offered alternatives to crime and reduced offences by half.
So it’s not about cutting crime in general – or at least, it doesn’t seem to be. Does it?
Apparently it will be quite tricky to fill all the places because of a lack of instructors (redundancies?) and police stations in which to put them (sell-offs?), and there are issues with the possible candidates, too.
Rules mean recruits must have a degree, or train for one on the job; and competition to recruit skilled workers in some jobs is likely to be so fierce that targets may not be reached – which suggests that there aren’t enough people with the right skills living in the UK (or they’ve all got better jobs already).
But Downing Street has said a recruitment campaign will begin in September, with forces held to account for meeting the target by a new board composed of police leaders and Home Secretary Priti Patel. What happens when they fail?
And it seems the budget for this initiative is unlimited. Policing minister Kit Malthouse said the plans would cost around £500 million in the first year, but “we still have to work out the exact number”.
The funds will come from taxation and borrowing – a U-turn for the Conservatives after nine years of austerity. As Mr Malthouse said: “You deal with what the priority is and you make the rest fit.”
So the priority for the last nine years has been starving the public sector of cash, creating a plethora of social problems including increased crime, and now the priority is to recruit more people to arrest those new criminals.
And Ms Patel will be pursuing preventative measures in order to reduce the prison population? That doesn’t add up – unless she really is planning to reintroduce the death penalty, and extend it to crimes running down to, and including, shoplifting.
Ms Patel apparently said this was the start of a new relationship between the government and the police.
Considering all of the above – and the way the Tories have historically used the police as political weapons – I cannot help but find this whole initiative…
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