THE NUMBER of police officers in Greater Manchester increased for the first time in nearly a decade this week.

GMP eagerly welcomed 125 new recruits to the force this week, including 50 officers funded by an increase in council tax.

It is the first time in ten years that the force has seen officer numbers increase.

From their previous backgrounds across the world of work, the new recruits will be bringing a variety of experiences and expertise to GMP.

Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said: “I am delighted to welcome the new officers to GMP.

“The 50 that have been funded through the precept increase are particularly welcome as this is the first time we have had a growth in officer numbers since 2010.

“The Force faces continued financial challenges and I appreciate that the increase in the policing element of the precept is challenging for many across Greater Manchester.

“But it is vital for us in trying to maintain policing services across the Force area.”

The new recruits have been funded by an increase in the policing precept which was announced by the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, in January.

Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime Beverley Hughes said: “The additional money raised through the policing council tax has enabled us to provide a much-needed boost to neighbourhood police officers.

“It comes at a time when demand is at an all-time high, as they deal with ever more serious cases with a level of complexity we could not have predicted even a few years ago.”

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham proposed a rise in the police element of council tax earlier this year, to fund additional neighbourhood policing across Greater Manchester.

All the new recruits are described as having “experience, talent and a passion” for policing communities in Greater Manchester.

The new officers will also reflect the diverse communities of Greater Manchester, which is something GMP are striving to improve.

Officers will be officially sworn into their roles at a formal ceremony at Manchester Grammar School, where they will be affirmed by GMP Chief Constable Ian Hopkins.

The new recruits will complete a two-year probation period which includes classroom-based learning and a year of active patrolling on the region’s streets.

During this period, they will have the same roles and responsibilities as regular officers, including the power of arrest.