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Pledge over rise in police recruits.

Byline: HAYLEY CUTHBERTSON

THE number of police officers is at its highest since February, 1995, with scores of extra bobbies for the West Midlands and Warwickshire, new government figures show.

An extra 82 officers for the West Midlands force and 18 for Warwickshire have been appointed over the past year.

The government has pledged that a record number of police officers will be on the streets of England and Wales by April next year, increasing to 130,000 officers by spring 2003.t

And the new figures suggest the government is well in line to meet this target, with recruitment up by 69 per cent in the past year, taking the total number of officers in England and Wales to 127,231.

Home Secretary David Blunkett welcomed the news, but said there was "no room for complacency".

He said: "Increasing the number of bobbies on the beat is a key plank to our police reform agenda. But tackling crime is about more than just police numbers - it is about providing officers with the tools and support to do the job."

And he repeated a pledge he made to a national conference of police superintendents in Kenilworth three months ago: "I am determined to make their job more rewarding by stripping away unnecessary red tape and using trained civilian support staff where appropriate."

Money has been ploughed into police recruitment by the Crime Fighting Fund, which was earmarked to fund an extra 9,000 officers from 2000 to 2003.

Last year, the cash provided an extra 2,800 officers nationally.

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VOW: David Blunkett
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Dec 20, 2001
Words:264
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