Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl has welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement that the recruitment of 20,000 new police officers in England and Wales will begin within weeks.

Under the current distribution process, it could mean Gloucestershire will get an extra 150 officers.

With a new police academy currently being developed in Berkeley, and due to open early next year, Mr. Surl said the county was ideally placed to engage in the process.

“We know there are a number of logistical challenges to be met if the Prime Minister is to deliver on his promise but this is an exciting opportunity”, he said.

“What better time could there be to have our own training academy coming on line?

“It also shows I was right not to close any more police stations and save those that the former Chief Constable wanted to dispose of. There will be other logistical hurdles to overcome but it means that unlike some other forces, we will have capacity to absorb the new recruits”.

Work is well underway finalising plans to develop a police academy on the former nuclear power station site at Berkeley Green, near Stroud. The two-storey, approximately 3,000 square metre building comes with meeting rooms, a canteen, parade ground, limited use of the sports hall and parking for around 250 cars.

The Prime Minister has said he wants recruitment completed over the next three years and will be setting out plans for a new national policing board.