Gloucestershire Constabulary will be able to recruit 46 new police officers, which will increase their officer numbers by 4% for recruitment in 2020-21.

The Home Office confirmed that South West police forces will be able to recruit 423 new officers overall in the first wave of a 20,000 increase over the next three years.

Government funding for recruitment will cover all associated costs, including training and kit.

Wiltshire Police will be able to recruit 49 new officers, which will increase their numbers by 5%.

Richard Graham, the Conservative MP for Gloucester, said: “46 additional officers for the Gloucestershire Constabulary in year one is a very good start and implies 150 over the three-year project.

“I hope many of those will help fight crime, knives, drugs and stabbings especially in Gloucester, and over time if we need more we’ll need to make a compelling case for that."

Chris Nelson, the Conservative candidate to be Gloucestershire Police and Crime Commissioner in the May 2020 elections, said: “This is excellent news for Gloucestershire.

“These 46 police officers are just the first tranche of extra officers promised by the government. The next tranches will follow after the Police and Crime Commissioner elections next May.

“If elected, I promise to work with all Conservative MPs in the county to build on this good start and deliver double the 150 extra officers expected, increasing our force by 300 officers.”

James Gray, the Conservative MP for North Wiltshire, added: “I was pleased to hear that Wiltshire Police will be able to recruit 49 more officers in year one of the three-year national campaign to recruit 20,000 officers.

“Wiltshire Police do 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."