THE first of 110 new officers to join South Yorkshire Police will begin their training next week.
Police chiefs have agreed to fill 110 officer posts which were due to have been lost over the next few years through retirement.
The initial plan had been to cut the posts to reduce costs, with police chiefs needing to make savings of £40 million through Government funding cuts.
But the county’s Police Authority, which oversees the way South Yorkshire Police is run and funded, has agreed to maintain frontline numbers by putting up the police element of householders’ council tax bills by 3.95 per cent - the equivalent of £5.22 a year for Band D council tax payers and £3.48 a year for those in Band A.
It means retiring police officers will now be replaced and an extra 22 PCSO posts will also be created.
And a report by South Yorkshire’s new Chief Constable, David Crompton, said ‘plans are in place’ to increase the number of Specials on the streets.
He said the aim is ‘increasing police visibility’.
Robert Dyson House in Wath-upon-Dearne will be used to train the new recruits, with the initial police officer training programme due to last for 14 weeks.
Then the rookies will start an eight-week one-to-one tutoring scheme and will begin their Policing Diploma course.
The police officer jobs have not been advertised externally because of the number of candidates from previous recruitment drives who had already been selected for employment before job openings dried up.
Some of the posts will also be filled by officers wanting to transfer to South Yorkshire Police from other forces elsewhere in the country.
The PCSO positions, however, will be advertised to all applicants.
Sheffield is to get the biggest share of the new police officer recruits - 45 - followed by Doncaster which will get 31, Rotherham which will get 18 and Barnsley which will get 16.
Mr Crompton’s report on maintaining police officer numbers, which will be discussed at a meeting of the South Yorkshire Police Authority this Friday, said it was to ‘smooth some of the implications of cost savings over the long term’.
Deputy Chief Constable Bob Dyson said: “Both the force and the police authority have listened to public concerns over reducing police numbers .
“This will help to meet the public’s wish to see increased visible policing.
“Our new recruits will train jointly with those at Humberside Police - another excellent example of our neighbouring forces working together and making best use of resources for the benefit of the public.”