OVER 30 police officers have joined Hampshire as part of a government drive to tackle crime.

An additional 31 officers are being welcomed across the region in a bid to recruit 20,000 extra officers to England by 2023.

A total of 156 new police offices will join the force, with allocation now confirmed for the first phase of the initiative.

Since the start of the recruitment campaign, a total of 4,336 extra officers have joined police forces across England and Wales.

MP Suella Braverman for Fareham welcomed the new officers, as part of her ongoing fight for more officers to be stationed in Fareham.

She said she was aware of problems with anti-social behaviour with gangs of youths congregating late at night, as well as drug-related offences.

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Suella added: “Getting more police officers onto our streets is one of the people’s priorities, and so I am delighted that Hampshire has been bolstered with an extra 31 officers so far.

“Every one of these officers will make an enormous difference in helping to cut crime and keep people safe – and I am reassured that many more will follow as this Government continues to deliver on its promise to recruit 20,000 more over the next three years.

The MP said four officers will be joining the Fareham Police team.

“By backing our police with the funding, powers and resources they need, we will keep the public and our communities safe, so that people everywhere can live their lives free from the fear of crime,” said Suella.

While forces are on their way to meet a target of 6,000 more officers by March 2021, the police workforce has grown by 5 per cent since March 2019 – the largest annual increase in officer numbers since 2003-04.

Earlier this month, it was announced that police pay will rise by 2.5 per cent this year, equivalent to a constable receiving an extra £1,100, and providing officers with an increase above inflation for the second year running, the largest pay rise in a decade.

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The Government has also launched a targeted consultation for doubling the maximum sentence for assaults on emergency workers to two years, and has set out plans for a Police Covenant, focusing on physical protection, health and wellbeing and support for families.

Assistant Chief Constable Maggie Blyth, of Hampshire Constabulary, said: “We are constantly striving to serve and support all in our communities the best we can each day.

"It has been great to see many high quality candidates applying to join the force."