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A major public sector recruitment campaign is being promised by the prime minister for the fight against coronavirus and beyond.

As the government reveals latest recruitment figures for police officers and teachers, Boris Johnson is also calling on people to apply for jobs in the NHS and prisons.

And after the Tory election pledge to recruit 20,000 police officers, the PM and Home Secretary Priti Patel are visiting a police force to meet new recruits.

Ministers are also announcing plans to recruit 1,000 new probation officers and 9,000 extra university places for engineering, science and nursing, including 3,800 for nurses.

“We have seen more clearly than ever the heroic efforts of our public workers during this pandemic,” the PM said ahead of the latest recruitment numbers.

“The fantastic teachers, police officers and NHS workers truly are the pride of the nation and embody the spirit of public duty that every one of us can aspire towards.

“Together, we are on a mission to build back better – protect our NHS, make our streets safer, educate the next generation and unleash Britain’s potential.”

But Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds poured scorn on the government’s recruitment drive, claiming it was only needed because of Tory cuts in recent years.

“It feels pretty rich for the prime minister to talk of valuing the public sector when the COVID-19 crisis has shown just how starkly his government has let down our NHS and social care workers,” she said.

“Let’s not forget that the reason the prime minister needs to launch a recruitment drive is because Conservative governments have cut our public services to the bone.

“If the government is serious about attracting people to work in the public sector then he needs to show that he values those who already do, giving them the equipment they need and the pay talks they deserve.”

The government’s plan to recruit 1,000 new probation officers is part of a major U-turn following the disastrous privatisation of the service by former justice secretary Chris Grayling.

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