Portsmouth South MP candidate doubles down on claim for '200 extra police' in Portsmouth
A CANDIDATE has doubled down on claims 200 police officers will be recruited in Portsmouth.
Conservative candidate for Portsmouth South, Donna Jones, posted a video on Twitter that has since clocked up 7,300 views where she said: ‘I'm happy that Portsmouth is due to get 200 extra police officers on our streets.’
General election opponents have criticised the statement as the Home Office said Hampshire Constabulary will receive funding for 156 officers - for the entire county - out of 6,000 posts being recruited across England and Wales.
It is the first phase of a previously announced £750m 20,000-officer recruitment drive, staggered across a number of years.
Hampshire Constabulary said no decision has been made on the allocation of officers.
A Home Office spokesman said forces have not been given an indication of further recruitment beyond the initial phase.
Labour incumbent Stephen Morgan said Ms Jones’ video was ‘nothing short of misleading’.
He said the 156 officers would include those going to the National Crime Agency staff and counter-terror officers, although the Home Office told The News all 156 were going to Hampshire Constabulary. Mr Morgan’s office said he still had concerns.
‘This is about trust. At this time of uncertainty and when there is such a great deal of misinformation, it is integral that politicians tell Portsmouth people the truth,’ Mr Morgan said.
Ms Jones told The News that Hampshire was due to get between 500 and 550 officers in a five-year period under a Conservative government.
She said: ‘The allocation - I’ve spoken to the chief constable - I have on good authority the allocation for Hampshire will be 500-550, plus there’s other projects.
‘I’m currently liaising with the policing minister about knife crime and a couple of other bits.
‘In Portsmouth our allocation of policing over the next five years will be going up to 200 more operational police officers in Portsmouth.’
She said this is because the 500-550 would be split between Southampton, Portsmouth and Basingstoke.
Asked about the near-1,000 cut to police officers since 2010 under a Tory government Ms Jones said the economy was now ‘strong enough’ to recruit.
A Home Office spokesman said 6,000 officers will be recruited in the first phase, which includes 156 in Hampshire.
Asked about allocation for further recruits he added: ‘We haven’t given an indication (to police forces) of where those officers are going yet.’
Asked where the 156 officers will go, a Hampshire police spokesman said: ‘It’s not something that has been decided.’
The remaining Portsmouth South candidates are Gerald Vernon-Jackson (Lib Dem), John Kennedy (Brexit Party), and Steven George (Justice and Anti-Corruption Party).