Tory leadership: Javid pledges to put 20,000 police officers back on beat

Conservative leadership hopeful Sajid Javid has pledged to oversee 20,000 extra police officers “pounding the pavements” if elected Prime Minister.

Mr Javid, the current Home Secretary, told The Sun he would spend £1 billion over three years to put “police on the beat” and end a “culture of impunity” among criminals.

The Bromsgrove MP is one of 11 vying to replace Theresa May as Prime Minister, with Cabinet colleagues Michael Gove, Jeremy Hunt and Matt Hancock also within the packed field.

Earlier this year, Mr Javid met police chiefs amid claims of a national knife crime emergency.

A string of fatal teen stabbings sparked a heated debate over police officer numbers in England and Wales, which have dropped by more than 20,000 since 2009.

Mrs May came under fire after she suggested that police cuts were not to blame for a spate of fatal stabbings on teenagers, saying there “was no direct correlation between certain crimes and police numbers”.

POLITICS Knives
Police officers in England and Wales (PA Graphics)

But Mr Javid, writing in the Sun, contradicted this, saying: “More police on the beat means less crime on our streets. Not exactly rocket science is it?”

He added: “I’d continue work to peel back layers of bureaucracy that have crept up over decades so police can concentrate on policing, not paperwork.

“That means 20,000 more coppers. Not sat behind desks, but pounding the pavements. It’s what the police want, it’s what the public wants, and it’s what I will deliver.

“I want to see a return to bobbies on the beat in every corner of the country. In cities, towns, villages and the countryside, I want the public to feel the confidence that comes from seeing officers in their communities.

“And I want to end the culture of impunity criminals increasingly feel as a result of lack of police presence.”

The Police Federation of England and Wales have previously raised concerns of “underfunding and under resourcing policing”.

Speaking in April following the publication of police-recorded crime figures by the Office of National Statistics, vice-chairman Che Donald said: “Crime across the board is going up, the only things that are not going up are police numbers, police pay and meaningful funding the Government should be investing in our police service so we can get on with tacking this highly concerning situation.”

Esther McVey
Conservative Esther McVey has thrown her hat into the ring (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Another of the candidates, Esther McVey, wrote in the Daily Telegraph that people wanted Parliament to “get on with delivering (the Brexit referendum) result, so that we can shift attention to what matters to them and their families”.

She added: “We desperately need to start showing people that we are on their side, taking action on the issues that matter to them.

“That’s why I have called for the immediate redirection of money from our bloated international aid budget to police and schools.”

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