Devon and Cornwall Police has exceeded the Government's police officer uplift target for the area, new figures show.

It comes as the Prime Minister said the government has delivered on its 2019 promise to recruit 20,000 additional police officers.

However, the Police Federation of England and Wales said the increase in new officers does not mean the force is a "stronger, healthily staffed" service.

Home Office figures show 600 officers were recruited through the programme in Devon and Cornwall as of March – 28% above the target of 469 new officers in the area.

And one officer was hired through other means.

The data also shows there were 3,716 total police officers for the area in March 2023, a 7% increase from 3,483 the year before.

Nationally, a total of 20,951 extra recruits joined police forces in the past three years, in the wake of a Conservative election manifesto commitment to have 20,000 additional officers in post by March 2023.

Out of 43 forces, the Metropolitan Police was the only one to miss its individual target, falling short by about 1,000 officers.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: "When I stood at the steps of Downing Street six months ago, I made clear that I will do whatever it takes to build a better future for everyone in the UK, with stronger communities and safer streets.

"At the heart of that pledge is recruiting more police officers than at any time in our history, and today we have delivered on that promise."

Home Secretary Suella Braverman added this is a "historic moment" for the country.

She said: "These new officers are changing the face of policing. They are more representative of the communities they serve and this offers a unique chance to deliver the highest standards and common sense policing expected by the public."

The figures show a record number of female police officers across the country, with more than 53,000 at the end of March.

Similarly, there were about 12,000 police officers from an ethnic minority background – more than ever before.

In Devon and Cornwall Police, there were 1,316 female officers (35% of the force) and 57 officers identifying as an ethnic minority (2%).

Steve Hartshorn, PFEW national chair, said the Government has "backfilled" the more than 21,000 officers cut in 2010.

Mr Hartshorn added: "The effect of these cuts has been felt and seen by the public and our officers have been suffering the consequences. Due to rising attrition rates, we would need closer to 50,000 new officers to cover these losses.

"The smokescreen doesn’t stand up to scrutiny," he said.