The previous Conservative Administration changed the law in 1994–95 and took the power to set the establishment of each police force away from the Home Secretary and allocated it to chief police officers. Although money has been tight in the past three years, some forces have done reasonably well. There is no correlation whatever between the forces that have received above-average increases in their budgets and those that have maintained officer numbers.
I commend Sir Ted Crew, chief constable of the West Midlands police, on his work and that of all his officers in getting ahead with the money allocated under the crimefighting fund and recruiting those net 156 officers. I am pleased to say that the positive results of such energetic efforts in the recruitment campaign have been repeated in other police force areas, including Greater Manchester, which recently had the largest intake of police recruits in the history of that service.