Home Secretary David Blunkett last night pledged to have at least 130,000 police officers on the beat “within the lifetime of this Parliament”.
Recent figures show there are currently 125,537 officers. The Government is committed to achieving 6,000 extra recruits by March 2003.
Blunkett claimed that a modernisation programme was required and that the differences between force performances were not acceptable.
A new standards unit will work with police services throughout the country to spread best practice and identify management and delivery problems.