Last week the Government announced it had exceeded its target of recruiting 20,000 more police officers – 20,951 were achieved.  And even though we have one of the smallest forces in the country, we also over achieved with 164 more officers joining the Constabulary.  By September, that figure will rise to 174.

This amounts to the largest intake of new officers in Gloucestershire for a generation.  Furthermore, we are now the most diverse we have ever been, with more women, black and ethnic minority officers.

On top of that much needed achievement, which will help prevent crime and catch offenders, in the next few months we will have also increased our Police Community Support Officers by 19.  PCSOs are at the core of Neighbourhood Policing, and have helped reduce anti-social behaviour by almost 60% throughout the County.

Our police staff numbers, too, are now the highest they have ever been in our 184 year history, with more than 200 extra being recruited during my two years in office. Staff members fill essential posts, many of which allow their uniformed colleagues to be out on the streets where the public want to see them.

The nature of crime is changing, with more fraud and domestic abuse cases than we have ever seen, and I have made tackling these crimes a top priority.  Much as the extra officers, PCSOs and police staff will help the Chief deal with these crimes, even more are required to prevent them happening, and bring justice to those who break the law.  I am, therefore, developing plans to continue strengthening the Constabulary further over the next 12 months, accessing new money from the Government.

All these extra officers have made it easier for the force to conduct large scale operations against organised crime groups.  Earlier this year we raided a site just outside Gloucester and seized a great deal of weapons and stolen property.  A few weeks ago we also ran a five force operation against drug dealing, involving 100s of officers from Gloucestershire, which led to the seizure of more than £750,000 of drugs and closing down eight shops which were being used as a front to sell illegal drugs.

A stronger Constabulary helps keep you safer.