Priti Patel unveils £15.8bn police funding package and 6,000 new police

17 December 2020, 09:19 | Updated: 17 December 2020, 09:57

By Matt Drake

The Home Secretary today announced a £15.8 billion funding package for the police saying recruitment is going "gangbusters" with 6,000 new recruits this year.

Speaking to Nick Ferrari at breakfast this morning, Priti Patel said: "I'm committed to recruiting 20,000 more police officers. This year alone we've got almost 6,000 that have been recruited, and on top of that this is a lot more money that's going on to the front line but also on training, equipping, supporting our police officers to cut crime because at the end of the day that's what we want.

"We want to see our officers go out there and bust those county line drug gangs, get more weapons and knives and guns off our streets, and to protect the public and this is all part of our package."

Ms Patel said police recruitment is "going gangbusters" with just under 6,000 new officers this year and more than 90,000 people applying to join the police in the last 12 months.

She added: "I'm always inspired day in, day out when I see our police officers, what they do, how they work.

"We've got money put aside for 6,000 more police officers next year and we've got to continue to recruit and that recruitment is going incredibly well."

She added that she wants the police to break up "egregious" and "terrible breaches" of coronavirus regulation at Christmas.

The Home Secretary was asked about the role of the police in the upcoming Christmas period regarding coronavirus restrictions by LBC's Nick Ferrari.

She said: "The police are there to fight crime, cut crime, and also when it comes to coronavirus deal with egregious breaches of the coronavirus regulations and laws.

"I've seen the footage, and I'm sure you have, where they've been breaking up house parties, unlicensed music events and all these terrible breaches that, quite frankly, put public health at risk."

Asked by host Nick Ferrari whether the police should be called if one extra person attended a Christmas gathering, she said: "No, I'm not going to go there Nick ... I think the public have exercised great judgment throughout the year when it comes to following the regulations."

READ MORE: 'This can't be a normal Christmas', UK governments say in joint statement

Ms Patel has also said she will inform the police if she sees people breaching coronavirus laws over Christmas
Ms Patel has also said she will inform the police if she sees people breaching coronavirus laws over Christmas. Picture: LBC

Pressed on whether the police were needed in the case of "one extra grandma or uncle" at a gathering, Ms Patel said: "We do not need to get involved in any of that at all and we're being clear about household bubbles for the Christmas period, the public will exercise their judgment and do the right thing because they want to protect each other."

Ms Patel has also said she will inform the police if she sees people breaching coronavirus laws over Christmas.

She said "nothing has changed" with how coronavirus laws will be policed over Christmas.

It comes as London has been moved into Tier 3 after a rise in Covid cases.

This has been attributed to the surge of people on the highstreet as Christmas approaches.

There are fears Christmas gatherings will cause a spike in new cases across the UK as Covid rules are set to be relaxed for the festive period.

But Wales has confirmed it will be putting new guidance on limiting Christmas gatherings to two households into legislation.

Scotland has also set out its own guidance for the Christmas period, but it remains advice.

Further lockdowns and tighter measures are being predicted for the new year already by some experts.

Priti Patel was also asked about the current state of Brexit negotiations and whether MPs could return to Parliament, Home Secretary Priti Patel told LBC: "The Prime Minister and the Government, we've all been very clear that we're not walking away, we will continue to negotiate to get this free trade agreement, but of course we're never going to accept anything that undermines or compromises our independence and our sovereignty as a country.

"Those talks continue and I can say now, if we do get a deal then obviously Parliament will come back, we will absolutely come back to finesse and do the legislation that's required.

"But, currently, we're in that tunnel of negotiation and our teams continue to work incredibly hard."

READ MORE: Christmas Covid rules 'to remain the same', minister tells LBC