Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, has welcomed an ‘overwhelming’ response to the force’s latest recruitment drive in a bid to get more police officers on our streets.

More than 3,000 people registered interest in becoming a Northumbria police officer, following last October’s Home Office announcement to increase police numbers by 20,000 nationwide – which includes 185 currently being recruited in Northumbria.

Commissioner McGuinness aims to secure additional funding to recruit new police officers above and beyond the money the Government is providing, which she said is a small step towards repairing the damage caused from years of austerity. The force has lost more than 1,100 police officers over the past 10 years.

In a paper presented to the force’s Northumbria Police and Crime Panel on Tuesday (14, January), she said: “In the first three months of the recruitment campaign Northumbria saw more than 3,000 people register their interest, with more than 1,000 of these going on to submit applications.

“I’m pleased to say the force has begun its biggest recruitment campaign since at least 2010. Austerity has seen the force lose more than 1,100 officers, as well as civilian staff that play their role in fighting crime.

“Repairing this damage will not be easy, and again, we will not see results overnight, but I’m heartened by the interest so far.”

Applications have been received from a diverse range of backgrounds including ethnic minorities and rural communities. More than a third of applications were from women.

The force is currently in the process of training 78 new officers and a further 80 are due to start this March, the Commissioner has confirmed.

She added: “I am of course pleased that we are finally starting to see increases in the number of police officers on our streets.

“But after a decade of austerity it is clear that replacing our 1,100 lost police officers will take time.  That’s why the Government needs to give us a solid financial footing and set out the full spending plan that will return all those lost posts.

“Simply handing out funding in dribs and drabs gives us no assurance we will get these new posts.”