Crime statistics drop ‘masks increased threat to public’

22 January 2015

Cuts to police budgets are threatening officers’ ability to keep the public safe, the Police Federation has warned.

The warning comes after today’s publication of the latest crime figures for the year up to September 2014. Figures from the Crime Survey of England and Wales, which asks people about their experience of crime, showed an overall drop of 11 per cent in crime while police recorded crime showed no overall change.

The Office of National Statistics, which released the figures, said that improved processes for recording crime is likely to be behind the increase in certain types of crime such as violence (up 16 per cent), public order (up 10 per cent) and sexual offences (up 22 per cent).

Steve White, chair, Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “Officers have been doing an incredible job in the most difficult of circumstances to combat crime against a backdrop of cuts but tackling crime is only a part of what they do. It would be dangerous in the extreme for anyone to look at a fall in crime statistics and believe the cuts are having no effect on the resilience and effectiveness of their police force.

“Countering terrorists who seek to attack our way of life; managing sex offenders in the community; preventing child sexual exploitation; looking for missing persons; dealing with people with mental health problems; policing football matches; policing pubs and clubs; house to house inquiries and taking statements are just some of the key areas of police work not covered in the crime statistics. In addition, the statistics don’t even cover all types of crime – so for instance drink-driving, driving without due care and attention, drunk and disorderly are not included.

“Protecting the public is a growing area of policing that is becoming a huge threat to public safety. Losing 16,000 police officers and 16,000 police staff members – equivalent to seven entire police forces - is having a dramatic effect on the service’s ability to combat this growing problem.”