Boris Johnson's plan to recruit 20,000 police officers to begin within weeks

Boris Johnson waves from the steps outside 10 Downing Street on Wednesday. (AP)

Boris Johnson’s plan to recruit 20,000 more police officers will begin within weeks.

As well as the extra officers the new Prime Minister will launch an urgent review into plans to make it easier for forces to use stop-and-search powers.

The recruitment drive – one of Mr Johnson’s Tory leadership campaign promises – will start in September and the Prime Minister wants it completed over the next three years.

‘As I said on the steps of Downing Street this week, my job as Prime Minister is to make our streets safer,’ Mr Johnson said.

Police chiefs called for the government to invest in new officers after a spate of recent stabbings in London. Pictured: Police attend a stabbing in Stratford, east London. (PA)

‘People want to see more officers in their neighbourhoods, protecting the public and cutting crime.

‘I promised 20,000 extra officers and that recruitment will now start in earnest.’

Shortly after he made the statement, however, Mr Johnson’s own policing minister said the scheme could be scuppered by a shortage of lockers for officers to keep their kit in.

Newly appointed minister Kit Malthouse, told the Today programme: ‘We will have to sit down and talk about the logistics.

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‘It might seem a surprising logistical issue that constrains the number of police officers is access to lockers.’

‘Modern police officers carry a lot of equipment and that all has to be stored somewhere overnight as they travel to and from their home. So finding locker space is going to be the key.’

The Government also announced it will urgently review pilot schemes which make it easier for forces in England and Wales to carry out stop-and-search operations under Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act.

Seven forces have been piloting changes under which the rank required to authorise a Section 60 order has been lowered to inspector.

The number of police officers in England and Wales has fallen dramatically in recent years. (PA)

In addition, the degree of certainty required has been lowered, so that the authorising officer must reasonably believe serious violence ‘may’ occur.

Downing Street said that the pilot schemes would be reviewed with a view to rolling them out across all forces.

Mr Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel have also set out plans for a new national policing board.

The panel will be chaired by the Home Secretary and bring together key police leaders, holding them to account for meeting the 20,000 officers target and working on a national response to other issues.

The College of Policing described the move as a ‘huge opportunity’ to get a more diverse workforce that is up to scratch on modern methods.