WILTSHIRE Police will recruit an extra 49 officers this year, ministers have confirmed.

Across the south west, forces are getting an additional 423 police officers in 2019/20 as part of government plans to recruit 20,000 cops nationally over the next three years.

Wiltshire Police hopes to recruit 100 officers a year.. Chief Constable called the recruitment drive a positive step: "Like all other forces, we have had to find significant savings in recent years, coupled with growing demand on our service and new threats from issues like cyber crime and mental health related incidents."

Recruiting an additional 20,000 police officers has been a key priority for Boris Johnson’s new government.

The prime minister said in July: “People want to see more officers in their neighbourhoods, protecting the public and cutting crime.”

Following the latest meeting of the National Policing Board, set up to oversee the latest recruitment campaign, Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “The public are clear they want to see more police officers on their streets, whether they live in the city or the countryside.”

Rank-and-file organisation the Police Federation has welcomed the extra officers, but called for the system by which forces are allocated government cash to be overhauled to ensure a fairer distribution of officers.

Insp Mark Andrews of the Wiltshire Police Federation said: “The past decade has been a hard slog for policing. Nobody can blame us for being cynical with such promises being made by the very government that has ripped the soul from the job. However, I genuinely feel there’s now a more positive tone coming from government.”

Angus Macpherson, police and crime commissioner, said: "I welcome the announcement from the Home Office. It is of course good news that we will see an increase of 49 officers in Wiltshire next year, but there is still uncertainty as to how this will be funded.

"The Home Office has said that any funding will also include allowances for kit and training, and I am keen to see the specific finances behind this as soon as possible.

"But let me be clear, this is not a quick fix to the challenges we currently face. It takes time to recruit suitable applicants to be officers and train them to a high standard.

"This announcement is only part of the picture in Wiltshire, recruitment continues for the additional officers I promised as part of the council tax increase earlier this year and 20 student officers will join our community policing teams after completing their initial training on Friday.

"We also must not forget the role that police staff play in policing."

James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire, said: “Wiltshire is one of the safest of all counties, but that should not blind us to the rise in rural crime, and especially in knife crime.

“Wiltshire Police does a fantastic job for our community. I hope this new funding will allow them to continue to meet the real pressures they face and be more able to help prevent crime and better support victims of crime. It is an announcement which I wholeheartedly support.”

Here's how many officers each south west force is getting in 2019/20

Avon and Somerset Constabulary - 137 new officers

Devon & Cornwall Police - 141 new officers

Dorset Police - 50 new officers

Gloucestershire Constabulary - 46 new officers

Wiltshire Police - 49 new officers