Police forces hired more than 4,000 extra officers in the first eight months of the Government's recruitment drive to sign up 20,000 more over the next three years – but only one per cent went to Dyfed-Powys.

The overall provisional headcount of officers in England and Wales is now 133,131, according to Home Office figures to the end of June.

This includes 4,336 hired as part of the 20,000 pledge, the quarterly report on the progress of the scheme said.

The campaign is 72 per cent towards meeting its first year target of 6,000 by March 2021, the Home Office said.

But Dyfed-Powys is among the forces which will receive the fewest new officers, with just 42 to be added to the ranks. Only Warwickshire, where 41 new officers will be appointed, ranks lower.

So far, 89,950 applications to become a police officer have been received since the campaign launched in October.

Overall, 9,327 officers have joined forces since November, with the new recruits from the campaign being on top of those hired to fill existing vacancies or as part of other job adverts.

Boris Johnson vowed to swell the police service to more than 140,000 officers by mid-2022 if he was elected Prime Minister.

Police officer numbers in England and Wales have fallen by more than 20,000 since 2009, with a reduction from 144,353 to 122,395 in 2018.

At the end of March 2020, the police officer headcount was 131,576.

The Home Office pledged to provide £750 million to support the 43 forces to recruit up to 6,000 new officers by the end of 2020/21 as part of the first phase of the roll-out.

This funding would cover all associated costs, including training and kit.

When the recruitment drive was announced, some police chiefs called on the Government to make sure forces received their fair share of resources.

The three forces with the highest recruitment target for the first year are the Metropolitan Police (1,369), West Midlands (366) and Greater Manchester (347).

Online assessment centres were set up in a bid to keep the recruitment drive on track during the coronavirus outbreak when face-to-face meetings had to stop as buildings shut.

The online centres are now being used by 30 forces, with more due to sign up over the summer.