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Wiltshire Police Federation

Further cuts to policing would be disastrous and damaging

27 October 2022

Polfed News

The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) warns cuts to the police service would have disastrous consequences as crime hits an all-time high.

A total of 6.5 million crimes were recorded in the 12 months to June 2022, up from the previous peak level of 6.3 million in the year to March 2020, the Office of National Statistics reported.

The surge is driven by an increase in violent crime and sexual offences.

Overall, police-recorded violence continued to increase to 2.1 million offences in the year ending June 2022 (20 per cent) compared with the year ending March 2020 (1.8 million offences).

Responding to the statistics, National Chair Steve Hartshorn, said: “These stark findings are proof we are living in an increasingly violent society, and my colleagues are doing everything they can to protect members of the public from this deluge of violence.

“For police officers to drive violent crime down, it goes without saying they need adequate resources.

“We desperately need more police officers. It is good the Government is committed to restoring the number of police officers from a decade ago through the uplift programme, but it doesn’t go far enough and will only bring us back to the levels seen before austerity measures. It also fails to keep up with the exponentially growing population, and there must be more focus on retaining police officers once they are recruited which can be achieved with better pay and working conditions.

“A long-term, sustainable funding deal for policing is also required, any further cuts to the service would be disastrous and damaging. We have been warning for years that cuts have consequences.”

Sexual offences were at the highest level recorded within a 12-month period (196,889 offences) in the year ending June 2022 - a 21 per cent increase.

Of all sexual offences recorded by the police in the year ending June 2022, 36 per cent (70,600) were rape offences. This was a 20 per cent rise from 59,046 in the year ending March 2020.

Mr Hartshorn continued: “The rise in recorded sexual offences is alarming.

“Our hard-working policing officers will always do their utmost to deliver justice for victims, but they need the resources to do so. I implore the Government to give PFEW, who represent 139,000 police officers in England and Wales, an equal footing with decision makers and listen to our solutions.

“Changes to the CPS guidance on disclosure has impeded justice and has seen victims of various crimes withdraw from active participation due to officers having to find at least an extra four hours to spend on redacting case material at the pre-charge stage.

“We are working with partner agencies to fix this issue, and hope to formally engage with the Attorney General’s office in early 2023 to see how these incredibly serious concerns can be addressed,” he concluded. 

Conducted on behalf of PFEW’s National Detectives Forum (PFNDF) to assess the impact of the changes on investigating officers, a survey, which closed in February this year, revealed the detrimental impact of the changes to the CPS guidance:

• 93 per cent of respondents indicated their overall workload had increased due to the changes
• 45 per cent indicated the number of victims that have withdrawn from active participation with their investigation has increased due to the changes
• 86 per cent said the changes had decreased the efficiency of the criminal justice system
• 96 per cent indicated the increased the number of hours spent on pre-charging file preparation - at least an extra four hours

Via its Simplify DG6 campaign, PFEW is lobbying the Government to highlight the need for amendments to the General Data Protection Regulation, Data Protection Act 2018, and the disclosure guidance itself to rectify the damaging and time-consuming problems the current legislation creates.