The Liberal Democrats have slammed the Conservatives for being soft on crime, as new official figures show they are failing on their manifesto pledge to recruit 20,000 more police officers.
A total of 4,814 extra officers were recruited in the second year of the uplift, well short of the Government’s 6,000 target. It means the recruitment rate would have to increase by a third, to 6,424 extra officers in the final year of the policy to meet the target of 20,000 by March 2023.
Senior police chiefs are starting to warn that the target won’t be met. Acting Met Commissioner Stephen House told MPs last week that “We are experiencing issues in the Met and I think other large forces are starting to experience recruiting challenges.”
Responding to the figures, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said: “The record is clear: the Conservatives are soft on crime. On their watch, too many communities are plagued by crime and anti-social behaviour, and too many criminals are getting away with it.
“This is turning into yet another of Boris Johnson’s broken promises. By failing to recruit the police officers we need, the Conservatives are letting down victims of crime and communities across the country.
“Liberal Democrats are fighting for a return to proper community policing, where officers are visible, trusted and focused on cutting crime. By voting Liberal Democrat at these elections, you can send a message to the Conservatives that they can’t take people for granted anymore.”
Local Liberal Democrat Councillor Sam Al-Hamdani added: “These failures to recruit are a national failure, which simply compounds the mess that GMP are in under Mayor Andy Burnham. GMP have been in special measures since 2020, with a catalogue of failures, the latest being abandoning the Police Works IT system after millions of pounds spent on it.
“Our police, and everyone who relies on them, are being failed by its political leadership at both the local and national level, and it is a disgrace.”