THE announcement of 156 new police officers for Hampshire has been met with criticism from the local police federation.

The Hampshire Police Federation said that although they are "delighted" with the recruitment of new officers, they believe that the numbers are not enough.

Yesterday, the Home Office confirmed the officer recruitment targets for police forces in England and Wales for the first year of the drive to increase their ranks by 20,000 over the next three years.

Hampshire Police will be able to recruit 156 new officers, which will increase their officer numbers by six per cent.

The Government is providing £750 million to support forces to recruit up to 6,000 additional officers onto our streets by the end of 2020-21 as part of its first stage in this new "uplift".

Zoe Wakefield from HPF said: "Obviously we are delighted after the 10 years of cuts.

"However the funding is a lot less in Hampshire than other sectors but it will take years to repair the damage made by the cuts.

"The 156 officers is excellent but it's just not enough."

Police forces in the South East will be able to recruit a total of 693 new officers.

This includes Thames Valley Police, which will be able to recruit 183 new officers, increasing their officer numbers by four per cent.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “The public are clear they want to see more police officers on their streets, whether they live in the city or the countryside.

“This is the people’s priority and it is exactly what the Government is delivering.

“This means that communities across the South East will have up to 693 more officers keeping a watchful eye on them and helping to cut crime.”

All officers recruited as part of the 20,000 uplift will be additional to those hired to fill existing vacancies.

They are also on top of the extra officers already being recruited because of the £1 billion increase in police funding for 2019-20, which includes money from council tax and for serious violence.

The National Policing Board, set up by the Prime Minister in July to drive progress recruitment and other major policing issues, yesterday heard that all forces are "accelerating their recruitment already" and the website for the campaign, ‘Be a Force For All’, has been visited more than 215,000 times.