Derbyshire Police Federation

'We are doing our best despite cuts’

28 January 2020

The police are doing the best they can to fight and prevent crime in the face of the devastating impact of the Government’s budget cuts, says Derbyshire Police Federation chair Tony Wetton.

He was commenting after new figures from the Office for National Statistics showed the chances of a theft resulting in a charge halved from 10.8 per cent in 2015 to 5.4 per cent in 2019, and from 2.6 per cent to 1.3 per cent for personal theft.

Charging rates have continued to fall for a majority of crimes over the years – including for the most serious of crimes including rape and violence.

The figures prompted criticism from Caroline Goodwin, chair of the Criminal Bar Association, who told the Daily Telegraph ‘if charging rates fall close to or even zero, then the public feels offences are in effect being decriminalised’.

But Tony said: “It is most definitely not the case that offences are being ‘decriminalised’. There can be various reasons why the number of offenders being charged is reducing including the use of fixed penalty notices or out of court disposals.

“But, our officers continue to do the very best they can at all times. The cuts have meant we have had fewer officers to go around and, at the same time, we have seen a massive increase in demand.”

National Federation chair John Apter also stepped in to counter Ms Goodwin’s criticism.

“Charging decisions for the majority of crimes are generally made by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), not the police,” he explained, “What will drive these decisions is evidence, sometimes we simply don’t have enough to satisfy the CPS which is not only frustrating for victims but also for those police officers investigating the crimes.

“It must not be ignored that the majority of a police officer’s shift will be taken up with non-crime related calls, such as dealing with mental health, missing persons and social issues, which don’t have an offence attached to them.”

 

 

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