The Government is waiting to discover if it has hit its manifesto pledge to hire 20,000 police officers in England and Wales.
The Home Office said it remains confident the target to hire the new recruits by the end of March will be reached but is waiting to receive final data, which is due to be published next month.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman previously insisted forces are “on track” to reach the milestone on Friday, despite claims from some opponents that the Government is lagging behind its 2019 commitment.
Figures published in January showed more than 3,000 police officers needed to be hired in less than three months in order to meet the target.
A Home Office spokeswoman said: “We await the final data; however, we remain confident we will have delivered on the Government’s manifesto commitment to recruit 20,000 additional officers by the end of March 2023.
“Thousands of extra police officers are already out on the beat making our streets safer, and when this programme is complete there will be more police officers in England and Wales than ever before.”
The department expected to spend £3.6 billion on the recruitment programme by March, with a total cost of £18.5 billion over the next 10 years, according to Whitehall’s spending watchdog.
In June, the National Audit Office (NAO) warned the recruitment campaign would “exacerbate pressure” on a criminal justice system which is “already under strain” in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
It also said hiring police community support officers (PCSOs), special constables or police staff to fill the roles could lead to vacancies elsewhere in the service.
A month earlier, outgoing chief inspector of constabulary Sir Thomas Winsor repeated warnings that the “sheer magnitude and speed” of the recruitment campaign “inevitably carries risks”, adding that there is a “heightened danger that people unsuited to policing may get through and be recruited”.
The Home Office said all recruits are subject to a “rigorous” vetting process and must meet national standards in order to be hired.