PRIME Minister Boris Johnson has been visiting North Yorkshire Police headquarters today to illustrate how police numbers are rising.

One of the main pledges in his administration's manifesto was to recruit 20,000 additional officers in three years.

Figures released this morning show 4,336 additional officers have been recruited nationally, 69 of which have joined the North Yorkshire force and 30 in Durham.

The PM was in at the force's HQ in Northallerton along with Home Secretary Priti Patel, where they were talking to new recruits.

Responding to criticism that his policy was just restoring the damage done to police numbers by the austerity introduced in 2010, Mr Johnson told The Northern Echo: “My information is that we have now got more police out on the streets in the UK than any time since 2003, so we are getting back up there, and that’s a long time ago now.

"We need to do more, but we are putting big numbers out there to fight crime ruthlessly,” said Mr Johnson.

“In the last year, there has been a 35 per cent fall in crime in North Yorkshire because a lot of criminals have been stopped because of Covid. We want to make sure that we can continue to drive those cuts.

“It is so wonderful to talk to these young recruits and hear of their ambitions and the pride they take in becoming police officers, it is wonderful.”

He had a stark message on the pandemic.

“The crucial thing is that we realise we are not out of the woods yet. I have to be frank with readers of The Northern Echo, they’ve done an amazing job, the public’s done an amazing job, we’ve together got this virus down, but it is all too clear from what’s happening in other European countries and the US that the virus is capable of coming back in a powerful second wave.

“We are not through it yet. We must not tell ourselves that we are going to be immune from that second wave, that we have some special status that protects us.

“We must continue to obey the social distancing rules, to wash our hands repeatedly, to wear face masks. I worry people are losing a bit of focus, a bit of discipline, and it will come back. And most importantly, if you have symptoms you must get a test.”