Boris Johnson has admitted it will be a “stretch” to meet his leadership campaign promise to boost police numbers by 20,000 within three years if elected Prime Minister.
He told Conservative Party members at a hustings in York it is possible, but will not be easy.
“It will be a stretch. You can do about 7,000 or 8,000 a year, it is a stretch. They will come from all over the country,” he said.
“But there's an imperative to do it. I've talked already today to Nick Hurd, the policing minister, and he's confident we can do it.”
Chief inspector of constabulary, Sir Thomas Winsor, has said the £1.1 billion plan may not be the “most effective” way of increasing police spending.
He warned recruiting the additional officers would take time, and training them would take between 18 months and two years.
“You have to invest to be more efficient and that will cost more money. Not all of that money should be spent on hiring people,” he said.
“Some of that money should be spent on technology.”
Mr Johnson has rejected a warning by Chancellor Philip Hammond that the money earmarked for the police recruitment drive would be spent dealing with the fallout of a no-deal Brexit.
He said if Britain leaves without a deal, the government will be able to draw on the £39 billion saved from the “divorce” settlement with the EU.