THE police have welcomed hundreds of new police officers over the last three years, the Devon and Cornwall Force reports.

'In Devon and Cornwall, we have 619 new police officers that have been funded by both the national Uplift programme and local council precept investment,' says a police spokesperson.

'In total we welcomed a total of 1,446 officers between 2019 and 2023 through a combination of our usual recruitment programme, precept and Uplift officers. This has been the biggest recruitment drive in the Force’s history.'

Deputy Chief Constable Jim Colwell said: 'Having had to reduce officer numbers, our communities had been asking for many years for a boost in officer numbers and we were delighted when the Uplift and council precept funding was made available to us.

'Our teams have worked tirelessly over the last three years to ensure we have recruited the right people with the right attributes to become a police officer in Devon & Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. I have been fortunate enough to have met a number of our new recruits and they all share the same level of professionalism and dedication.

'While a number of these new officers will still be going through their training, there are a substantial number who are already out there in our communities making a real difference.

'We have been able to boost resources in a range of key teams and departments to help us keep people safe and bring dangerous offenders to justice. We have bolstered our frontline patrol teams across Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, as well as increase resilience in our neighbourhood policing and Roads Policing teams.'

Resources have also been boosted in the Incident Resolution Centre, which triages 88 per cent of all recorded crime coming into the Force, and in the Moonstone team – the Force’s response to domestic abuse investigation and safeguarding.

'The force has also placed a real focus on increasing diversity thanks to its Positive Action programme and since 2019 there has been a 77 per cent increase in officers identifying as white non-British, 37.5 per cent increase in officers identifying as Black, Asian, or ethnically diverse and an increase in female officers from 908 to 1,266, a rise of 39 per cent,' said the spokesperson.

Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Alison Hernandez has said: 'Well done to Devon & Cornwall Police on achieving our target to deliver record number of police officers of 3,716 by Friday 31 March 2023.

'This is the largest amount of police officers we have had on record since the inception and is thanks to the Government and council taxpayers.

'Now we have the job of getting these officers fully trained with the experience they need to get out into our communities to serve the public who have long awaited their arrival.'

Plans are in place to recruit a further 302 officers by the end of March 2024.

Deputy Chief Constable Jim Colwell added: 'There really is no career like policing, where no two days are the same and you can go home knowing that you have made a real difference to people’s lives. Our officers are professional, compassionate and dedicated and we are looking for more people to come forward over the next year and choose this hugely worthwhile role.'

Police Constable Mia Hempstead, who is stationed in Exeter, joined the Force in September 2022 and is working towards her independent patrol status, said: 'I decided to become a police officer because I wanted an exciting career where I worked as part of a team, would be constantly challenged and where no two days would be the same.

'I have really enjoyed the training process because it has been fast-paced and I have been able to learn so much in a short period of time, while being supported along the way.'

Police Constable Sophie Crawford works in patrol in Plymouth and is coming to the end of her second year of training and degree.

She said: 'I joined Devon & Cornwall Police as I have always wanted to be a police officer however when I was 17, I became the victim of domestic abuse and the way the police responded and supported me gave me a push to want to do it sooner rather than later and I have no regrets.

'I have found the process amazing, and the training does prepare you well for what we face out on the frontline. I am part of a fantastic team with a support sergeant and inspector and all teams I have worked with have been much the same.'

Police Constable James Blockwell, who joined in October via the Degree Holder Entry Programme and is stationed in Exeter, is also working towards independent patrol status.

He said: 'I was a scaffolder before I joined the police, but I am also a service reservist with the Navy.

'I joined the police to be in a uniformed profession where everyone helps each other out and looks after one another. I’ve enjoyed getting out on patrol in the city centre talking to people and being a friendly face for people to look to for help.'

There are a number of different entry routes into policing. You can find out more about being a police officer with Devon and Cornwall Police and how to apply via the Force website