Boris Johnson walks the beat in Bexleyheath

16:49 17 February 2011

Boris Johnson visits Bexleyheath

Boris Johnson visits Bexleyheath

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Boris Johnson joined volunteer police officers on the beat following his announcement that hundreds of extra police officers will be patrolling the capital.

Boris Johnson with  James Parrish, Deborah Higginbottom and Rosanna Adam (l to r)

The Mayor of London announced on Thursday that the Met Police would become the only force in the country to increase the numbers of uniformed police officers, lifting a nine month recruitment freeze thanks to £42million in funding.

It will mean that London will have approximately 32,510 uniformed police officers by May 2012.

On Friday, he joined Special Constables during a walkabout in the Broadway, Bexleyheath, ahead of National Specials Week, when he called on residents to give up some of their spare time to volunteer. Bexley currently has 112 special constables patrolling the beat.

The Mayor said: “By the end of my mayoralty we will have a target of 32,510 full-time warranted police officers. We are also rightly protecting safer neighbourhood teams who are a superb asset to fighting local crime.

“My main objective remains to protect frontline services and this funding will be an enormous boost to keeping our streets safe and having more uniformed police officers on patrol.”

The Mayor said he wants to boost the number of Specials in the force by 6,667 in the run up to the 2012 Olympic Games.

Special Constables are unpaid police officers who volunteer at least 16 hours a month and have the same powers and responsibilities as regular police officers.

The recruitment process for the Met began on Monday and the force has hundreds of people who currently serve as PCSOs and special constables who are due to be prioritised for full-time police jobs.

The Mayor also plans to place an additional 413 officers on buses, rail station and the Tube. The number of PCSOs in London will be reduced in order to recruit more full-time warranted police officers. During his walkabout, Mr Johnson said: “It is really exciting in Bexley to see how many people are signing up to become Specials here.

“People really appreciate it and feel there is someone there to give them a sense of confidence in their neighbourhood.

“The commitment to public service here is incredible, lots of people enjoy it.”

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