Cambridgeshire Police Federation chair Liz Groom says the Force has made a “great start” with its drive to recruit new officers.
But she says the challenge now is for the Force to ensure the new recruits and experienced officers are retained.
New Home Office figures show that Cambridgeshire Police has been boosted by an extra 123 officers in the first full year of the Police Uplift Programme, almost double the Force’s allocation of 62 officers.
The new data shows the Force now has 1,649 officers, up from 1,526 when the Government’s recruitment drive began.
Liz said: “This is a great start to our recruitment drive and puts the Force ahead of schedule. We’re making really good progress, particularly when set against the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Our new colleagues will make a real difference to policing in Cambridgeshire as we continue to tackle Covid-19 and carry out our normal day-to-day duties as well.
“On behalf of the Federation I’d like to welcome all of our new recruits and to wish you every success in your careers.”
Liz pointed to other statistics released by the Home Office that show the Force recruited a total of 191 officers as evidence of the work needed to retain officers.
She said: “The Force has made a really good start and a lot of hard work has gone into recruiting new officers. The challenge is to ensure that we retain not only the new officers but also our experienced colleagues.
“We’ve already seen too many of them leave policing and take their experience and expertise with them, so it’s vital we do all we can to ensure they’re passing on that knowledge to the next generation of officers.”
Nationally, the Home Office figures show there were 137,704 officers in the 43 territorial police forces in England and Wales as at 31 March – an increase of 8,771 officers.
Meanwhile, forces are being encouraged to use new tax breaks to recruit more officers from military backgrounds.
Companies and public sector organisations which employ armed forces veterans are now exempt from paying National Insurance contributions during the first 12 months of their employment.
This new tax relief came into force on 6 April and is available to every employer – regardless of when a veteran left the regular armed forces.
National chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales John Apter said: “This is good news and shows the Government recognises the value and contribution veterans can bring through their life experiences and strong transferable skills.
“As part of our current national recruitment campaign, forces need to grab this opportunity with both hands and do all they can to recruit people with life experience, and this includes ex-military who can contribute so much to policing.”