HC Deb 22 November 2000 vol 357 cc219-21W
Mr. Edwards

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many additional police officers will be employed by Gwent Police following the Comprehensive Spending Review. [139262]

Mr. Charles Clarke

As a result of the 2000 Spending Review (SR2000) spending on the police will rise from £7.7 billion this year to £8.5 billion in 2001–02; to £9.0 billion in 2002–03 and to £9.3 billion in 2003–04. This is a very significant increase in resources, with funding rising by nearly £1.6 billion in 2003–04 over provision for this year.

The Home Secretary's powers to set establishment levels for each force were removed by the previous Government in 1994, under the Police and Magistrates' Courts Act 1994. It is for the Chief Officer to determine staffing requirements within the overall resources available. That said, we are providing further new money in SR2000 to expand the Crime Fighting Fund (CFF). As a result forces will be able to recruit 9,000 police officers over and above the number they had previously planned to recruit in the three years 2000–01 to 2002–03 (rather than the 5,000 announced in September 1999).

In the case of Gwent, the force's CFF allocation has increased from 43 to 81 recruits. Their allocation is spread over three years. Allocations for years two and three are provisional. They depend on the force delivering target recruitment and improved performance.