Derbyshire Police Federation

Crime will rise as lockdown eases, says Fed chair

27 August 2020

Derbyshire Police Federation chair Tony Wetton has warned crime figures are likely to rise as lockdown restrictions are eased following a 32 per cent drop in figures during the pandemic.

Tony welcomed figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) that showed crime, excluding fraud and computer crime, dropped by just under a third during April and May compared to a two-month average in the pre-lockdown period.

But he said the trend is unlikely to continue as people begin to return to normal life.

“Any drop in crime is to be welcomed,” Tony said. “We know all too well the upsetting impact that crime can have on victims, their families and communities. Our members worked tirelessly during the pandemic to protect the public, support the NHS and maintain the lockdown, and they will continue to do so as restrictions are eased.

“However, a significant drop in crime figures during the lockdown period is not a huge surprise and I’m sure people will appreciate they’re likely to rise again as we start to return to normal life.  We are already seeing demand returning to pre-Covid levels.

“The long-term solution to ensure a downward curve in crime figures is to put more officers on the streets and to properly fund the police service.”

Key findings of the ONS study were:

  • Underlying the reduction in crime were significant falls in theft offences, particularly domestic burglary and other theft of personal property
  • Police recorded crime levels during the lockdown period were much lower than respective months in 2019, with 25 per cent less crime in April 2020 and 20 per cent less crime in May 2020 
  • Reductions were seen across many types of crime, in particular, theft offences fell in April and May 2020 to almost half the level recorded in April and May 2019 
  • One exception related to trends in drug offences, where levels rose by 22 per cent in April 2020 and 44 per cent in May 2020 compared with April and May 2019. This reflects proactive police activity in pursuing these crimes during lockdown
  • Police recorded crime fell by 5 per cent in March 2020 compared with the previous month, followed by a larger 20 per cent decrease between March and April. In contrast, crime increased by 12 per cent from April to May, as the easing of lockdown restrictions began.

Ché Donald, the Federation’s national vice-chair, said: “We must not be lulled into a false sense of security, as the figures will inevitably rise again. The answer to this is that we still need more officers on the streets in order to drive crime down in the longer term and to keep the public safe. The much-promised Government uplift of police officers will assist with this, but it is yet to be felt by my colleagues and the public.”

He said he was highly encouraged by the finding that 91 per cent of adults who responded to the Telephone-operated Crime Survey for England and Wales (TCSEW) were satisfied with their local police officers, adding: “We have all read the recent negative media perceptions of policing so this overwhelming vote of confidence from the public will be appreciated by our members.

“This reflects the amazing work done by policing during the pandemic and the respect in which they are clearly held by the majority of the public.”

 

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