More than half of police forces in the UK missed recruitment targets in 2018 (Image: Getty)
Police chiefs recently revealed more than half of the 43 forces in England and Wales missed their recruitment targets last year. And 16 forces said they missed their target by more than 25 per cent, including West Yorkshire and Merseyside. Warwickshire was shy by a staggering 75 per cent, the National Police Chiefs' Council documents show. At the same time, Home Office figures yesterday laid bare the scale of the knife crime crisis engulfing Britain. Figures show the number of offences has rocketed in every part of the country, with police recording more than 42,000 knife crimes in the year to last September. In 2013, 25,600 offences were reported - marking a 64 per cent increase in the past five years. This includes a 114 per cent increase in Cambridgeshire, 125 per cent rise in Gloucestershire and an astonishing 190 per cent surge in Hertfordshire. But the Home Office, in its submission to the Police Remuneration Review Body, said: "There are no overall concerns about recruitment and retention.
"Wastage rates continue to remain low at six per cent and voluntary resignations still account for less than two per cent of the workforce.
"Retirement rates remain stable and most officers continue to retire shortly after completing 30 years of service.
"Officers continue to be well paid, compared to other public servants and emergency service workers, and have pensions that are among the best available, which allow them to retire earlier than most."
But former policing minister David Hanson told the Daily Express: "The Home Office is talking nonsense. There's a real problem with recruitment. We have to make sure we keep experienced officers and that they are not leaving because of salary concerns. "There's low morale around the police because of under-funding and continuing pressures that they are facing every day, such as serious violence."
Former policing minister David Hanson (Image: Getty)
A Home Office source insisted forces have no trouble attracting applications. The NPCC wrote in its own submission: "Most have no trouble attracting initial applicants but, in some cases, the conversion rate is low. This suggests the calibre of applicants may not be of the quality required or there are potential issues with the recruitment process that lead to high