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9 April 2018
The Police Federation says England and Wales will continue to see violent crime unless police cuts are reversed.
The worrying prediction comes after Home secretary Amber Rudd said this week that cuts were not to blame and pointed the finger at rising drug use in affected communities. She also said the use of social media was inflaming the issue.
The Guardian says it’s seen a leaked report from the Home Office revealing that cuts have ‘likely contributed’ to the rise in violence in the capital in particular.
However, Rudd has denied seeing the report and instead asserted that the evidence ‘does not support’ the claim.
The number of officers fell from 143,734 in 2010 to 123,142 in March 2017 according to official figures - London has seen more 50 murders this year alone including the fatal shootings of two teenagers.
The Government has this week launched a new £40m strategy aimed at tackling the issue which would ban ‘zombie’ knives and knuckle dusters, while providing an additional £11m to promote youth and community centres.
The Police Federation says it strongly disagrees with the Government’s view that cuts are not to blame.
“Even the Minister Nick Hurd has said that police are overstretched,” it said in an official response to the Home Secretary’s claims.
“The fact is very simple – this Government has recklessly cut police numbers and funding and now we have significant increased in violent crime – you do the math.
“The public understand this, the police know this, so how come the Home Secretary can’t see this?
“Why are the Metropolitan Police having to cancel officer rest days, to put an additional 300 police officers out every day of this weekend, to deal with the epidemic facing the capital?
“The issue here is that this Conservative Government cannot admit they got it wrong and it’s costing lives.”
The Federation says the issue with policing is backed up by the recent HMICFRS PEEL report which revealed that a quarter of forces in England and Wales are struggling to cope with the demands placed on them.
“Our evidence clearly shows that officers are under immense pressure and the reduction in officer numbers is impacting on the ability to respond to rising crime,” the Federation’s response continued.
“All our previous warnings are now coming to light as we see an increase in violent crime and victims of crime not getting the service they deserve and expect.
“Unless the Government addresses these issues and provides the police service with the funding it needs we will continue to see the impact.”
Rudd told BBC Radio that ‘it’s not all about police numbers’ and that violent crime was complex.
“You cannot arrest your way out of this,” she said on the Today Programme.
“It’s up to different police and crime commissioners to make their decisions about how the money is spent.
“Some forces are increasing their numbers of PCSOs, some are cutting them in order to have more funds available for local policing of a different type.”
Both Met Commissioner Cressida Dick and her predecessor Sir Bernard Logan-Howe have previously said the force would struggle with further cuts and that ‘warning lights are flashing’.
For more on this story visit; https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/apr/09/amber-rudd-home-office-violent-crime-report-leaked