18 July 2019
The public and the police will rightly be concerned about the latest rise in recorded crime figures and the increasing demands being made on a police service which has long been struggling with depleted resources, says the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW), in response to data released today on crime statistics, crime outcomes, workforce strength and assaults on police officers.
Figures published make grim reading and should be the wake-up call that is needed for Government to make crime and policing a priority.
Possession of weapons is up by 19% with knife crime officially up once again by 8% in incidents recorded by police in the past 12 months, according to new figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The ONS figures also revealed that:
Although the murder rate has dropped by 4% the public has a right to be increasingly concerned about the ability of the police to tackle increasing crime rates without the right resources and resilience to do so. Since 2010, the police service has been operating on a record low when it comes to police numbers, having lost nearly 22,000 police officers since 2010. Although the latest figures show a small increase in police officer numbers from last year, irreparable damage has been done over a prolonged period, with loss of vital skills and experience to the detriment of the public.
Officers who are still giving the service their all are not only feeling the brunt of government cuts but are all too frequently getting assaulted in the course of their duties.
Police officer assaults has risen from 26,000 last year to 30,000 this year. This on the day that 71 police officers are being recognised at the National Police Bravery Awards for their dedication to duty – a number having fought off armed offenders and risked their own lives for the sake of others.
PFEW’s National Chair, John Apter, said: "The figures released today come as no surprise and rightly cause alarm bells. How can we start to reassure the public and give them the confidence to believe that their safety is this Government’s priority? The Prime Minister has continually said that police officer numbers have no bearing on rising crime levels. The figures released today clearly show very concerning increases in crime. For far too long, crime and policing has not been taken seriously enough. This vital public service is shouting out for investment in time and money.
"The officers I represent have been let down by this Government and left to bear the consequences of public frustration. Yet these same officers are being abused and assaulted just for doing their job.
"I am proud to say that I have been in the presence of some truly inspiring police officers today, having just left a reception at 10 Downing Street in their honour. Officers like these give us their all, putting the safety and welfare of others before their own. They deserve to feel valued and rightly rewarded for the difficult job they do.
"A new Prime Minister will soon lead our country and one of his first duties must be to prioritise on public safety. We need more police officers and although there has been an increase of just 766 police officers in the past year, this number pales into insignificance when compared to the loss of more than 22,000 officers due to cuts in our funding. Hundreds of officers will have little or no impact on our ability to protect the public. To make a real impact on our operational performance we need thousands not hundreds of new officers. This should be the priority of the new Government which should be determined to protect the safety and security of everyone in the country."
Figures to note:
Crime stats headlines (police recorded crime)