THE government green light for Greater Manchester Police to recruit 347 new officers in the next year falls short of what is needed, Chief Constable Ian Hopkins has warned.

He was reacting to yesterday’s announcement by Home Secretary Priti Patel setting out targets and Whitehall cash for the first year of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s drive to deploy 6,000 additional bobbies nationwide by 2021.

Mr Hopkins concerns were backed by Beverley Hughes, Greater Manchester’s deputy mayor for policing, and Bolton’s Labour MPs Yasmin Qureshi and Sir David Crausby.

Conservative MP Chris Green welcomed the news as a step to making the town’s streets safer.

Mr Hopkins said: “The announcement of the 347 additional officers that our force will be able to recruit is a real opportunity for us as we continue to keep our communities safe.

“Police chiefs across the country have made it clear that any uplift requires significant investment in terms of recruitment, training, equipment and additional police staff to support a larger workforce.

“Whilst we welcome the announcement, we are also still some way off replacing the 2,000 experienced officers we have had to lose over the years within GMP and it will take time to build that experience again with this new influx of officers.”

Baroness Hughes, Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, said: “This government investment in local policing is long overdue but will not of itself make a significant difference.

“Greater Manchester Police has lost 2,000 officers since 2010. Strengthening police numbers here is welcome, but the number of police able to patrol our streets remains significantly down on nine years ago. To redress this we need much more, and more quickly, than the government is proposing.”

Bolton West MP Mr Green said: “I have been telling successive Prime Ministers that we need to be far tougher on crime. Boris Johnson and Priti Patel have got the message. Together we are going to make our streets safer.”

Bolton South East MP Ms Qureshi said: “Obviously any investment in new police officers is welcome but this paltry figure will not make up for the numbers the Greater Manchester force has lost since 2010.”

Bolton North-East’s Mr Crausby said: “I welcome any rise in police officer numbers, and it’s about time too. At the end of this recruitment drive we’ll still have far fewer officers than we did in 2010. The damage done cannot be undone overnight .”