Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner said: “The Home Office is planning a series of advertisements across the country under the slogan ‘Be a force for all’ designed to encourage people to join the police service.
“The advertisements will appear on billboards and digital displays at shopping centres and railway stations. This comes in the wake of the chancellor’s announcement that over all police numbers should rise by 20,000 over the next three years.
“While the increase in officer numbers is to be welcomed, we should not forget that this only puts back what the government has taken away, even though during that time the population has increased.
“South Yorkshire Police have lost over 500 officers since 2010 as a result of cuts in government funding. As a result, with each passing year, falling trends in crime began to climb again, culminating in an outbreak of knife crime.
“We have been promised funding for this year to begin recruitment. But in South Yorkshire we had already planned to increase the force anyway with 220 new posts by 2024, starting this year. Recruitment has already started.
“Our properly worked out plans take into account the full cost of recruiting, training and equipping a police officer, and being sure that there will be experienced officers alongside during the probationary period. It is not clear whether government money now promised for this year to recruit more officers takes into account all these other costs.
“But this does bring a moment of opportunity for people in South Yorkshire to seriously consider a career in the police service.
“I am sometimes asked by community groups and community activists in some of our more disadvantaged communities to see that more people join the police from these backgrounds. I am saying to them that given this opportunity there is now some obligation on them to encourage people from disadvantaged backgrounds to apply.
“Those backgrounds may be the former pit villages of South Yorkshire, the inner city areas or outer estates.
“In addition, from next year, apprenticeships will be offered that enable officers to work on the job for a professional degree so that they can earn as they learn.
“There are many different kinds of job within the police service itself, only a few of which are likely to be known by the public – dog handlers, neighbourhood police, detectives and fire arms officers. It is potentially a very rewarding and varied career. It is a way of making a difference for good in our communities.
“There is now a real opportunity for people in South Yorkshire and we should not let this moment slip by.”