Police Recruitment

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 8th January 2001.

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Photo of Jack Straw Jack Straw The Secretary of State for the Home Department 12:00 am, 8th January 2001

I am delighted to be able to tell the hon. Gentleman that police numbers in Devon and Cornwall, as at 31 September last year, were higher than they were in March 1997. Police numbers nationally are likely to be greater than they were in March 1997 at some time in 2002–03, but they are already greater in quite a number of police force areas.

We have allocated substantial additional funds for rural forces. I think that Devon and Cornwall will receive about £1.6 million in addition to the best ever real-terms settlement for the police service, which also covers Devon and Cornwall. The overall result will be a well-funded police service. I am pleased to say that the British crime survey already shows that crime levels across the country were down by 10 per cent. at the end of 1999 compared with 1997, proving that even though money was tight in the first three years of this Government—for reasons that everyone understands—our overall crime and disorder policy has been working successfully.