17 October 2019
As crime statistics yet again show a rise in violent and knife-related offences, the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) says officers will continue to do the best they can while the benefits of the 20,000 uplift take full effect.
Today (October 17) the Home Office has published its latest police-recorded crime figures for the year ending June 2019 (July 2018 to June 2019).
Crime is up across the board – with the exception of a handful of offences – with the total number of offences in England and Wales increasing by 7%.
The knife crime epidemic sweeping the nation also shows no signs of abating. Offences involving knives or sharp instruments increased by 7% to 44,076 offences, whilst violence (with or without injury) has rocketed by a total of 16%.
Drug offences are up by 15% to 159,615 and robbery offences saw an 11% increase to 88,177.
PFEW National Chair John Apter said: “These figures once again come as no surprise as officers continue to struggle to deal with delivering the basics in policing which is incredibly frustrating for them.
“With forces snowed under by demand, unable to answer all 999 calls in some cases, chiefs are having to make some difficult decisions over which services need to be reined back. With almost 22,000 fewer officers since 2010 there are simply not enough officers to go around and my colleagues are being stretched their limits.
“On top of this, officers are still picking up the pieces of the broken mental health and social services; both the public and the Government must realise that we can’t be all things to all people.”
Other statistics include:
However, there was a 5% decrease in homicide offences -from 719 to 681 offences, a 3% drop in criminal damage and arson and a 4% fall in burglary offences.
Mr Apter added: “We welcome the Government’s plans to uplift the service with an extra 20,000 officers as it offers a much-needed lifeline and will give policing the capability to begin to drive crime down; including the scourge in knife crime which shows no signs of slowing and is blighting the lives of so many families.
“But let me be clear, the benefits won’t be felt for some time. It will of course take years for the effects of the recruitment drive to be fully felt and the public must understand this. Until then, my colleagues will do the very best they can to protect the communities they serve”, he said.
It reveals the proportion of crimes resulting in a charge/summons fell by 1% from 9% to 8%, continuing a downward trend. There was also a drop in the number and proportion of offences resolved by out of court resolutions.
The proportion of offences that were closed as a result of “evidential difficulties” also increased from 29% to 32%. And forces closed almost half (44%) of offences with no suspect identified - a similar proportion to last year.
An average of nine days was taken from the date the crime was recorded to assign the outcome - an increase of three days compared with the previous year.
Mr Apter says these findings are attributed to a national crisis in detective policing with forces struggling to fill investigator positions, which results in those who do work in this area carrying greater workloads. Whilst a plummet in officer numbers means it takes longer for them to attend a scene of crime which can hinder the collection and preservation of evidence.
He concluded: “It is hardly surprising investigations are taking longer to complete as officers juggle competing demands, while trying their very best to care for their victims and bring offenders to justice.”