Boris Johnson tonight promises to almost, but not quite, reverse Tory cuts to police numbers.
The PM hopeful tonight announced he plans to increase numbers by 20,000.
But that’s still 1,000 fewer officers than forces had nine years ago when the Tories came to power.
Police officer numbers dropped by 21,000 since the Tories took power – from 143,734 in 2010 to 122,404 in 2018.
And he’ll only promise to hit that figure by 2022.
Meanwhile, Tory Justice Secretary David Gauke has warned of the rise of “populists” in Britain.
In a speech to the Lord Mayor’ Banquet, he said: “A willingness by politicians to say what they think the public want to hear, and a willingness by large parts of the public to believe what they are told by populist politicians, has led to a deterioration in our public discourse.
“This has contributed to a growing distrust of our institutions – whether that be Parliament, the civil service, the mainstream media or the judiciary.”
Announcing the police hiring spree, Mr Johnson’s team admitted “dramatic” Tory central government cuts had forced local forces to slash officer numbers.
And he directly linked police numbers to public safety, something Theresa May has repeatedly refused to do.
Mr Johnson said: “Soaring crime levels are destroying lives across the country and we urgently need to tackle this. To keep our streets safe and cut crime, we need to continue to give the police the tools they need and crucially we need to increase the physical presence of police on our streets.
“That’s why I will be increasing police numbers by 20,000. More police on our streets means more people are kept safe.
“We want to make sure we keep the number of police officers high and we need to keep visible frontline policing. That’s what we did in London and that’s what I want to in the whole of the UK to cut crime and keep people safe.”
Mr Johnson’s team estimates the hiring spree will cost £1.1 billion.