New British PM orders hiring of 20,000 extra cops
Britain's new Prime Minister Boris Johnson launched a massive recruitment drive Friday to start hiring 20,000 police officers in a fight against rising violent crime.
Johnson has taken swift action after promising on his first day at 10 Downing Street that police numbers will increase.
Downing Street said the unprecedented drive to deliver more front-line police officers will start in September with the launch of a national campaign led by Britain's interior ministry, the Home Office.
Johnson said: "As I said on the steps of Downing Street this week, my job as prime minister is to make our streets safer. People want to see more officers in their neighborhoods, protecting the public and cutting crime."
"I promised 20,000 extra officers and that recruitment will now start in earnest," he added.
There have been major complaints in London and across the country that the number of front-line officers has been reduced because of spending cuts.
At the same time there has been an increase in knife crimes and serious assaults.
Johnson said he wants recruitment completed over the next three years, adding that the government will shortly set out plans for a new national policing board.
Chaired by Home Secretary Priti Patel, the board will bring together key police leaders. It will hold the police to account for meeting the target set by Johnson, and drive the national response to the most pressing issues that affect communities right across the country.
Patel said: "Officers up and down the country put themselves in danger every day to keep us safe. They deserve our support."
"The rise we've seen in serious violence is deeply worrying. An additional 20,000 officers sends a clear message that we are committed to giving police the resources they need to tackle the scourge of crime," Patel said.
The government also said it will urgently review a pilot project which makes it simpler for police officers to use stop and search powers, with a view to rolling it out across all police forces.