90 days from today is Fri, 13 September 2024

Wiltshire Police Federation

“Federation: Home Secretary must brush up on policing… where any reasonable lines of enquiry exist for the crimes she mentions, they are followed up”

29 August 2023

“Federation: Home Secretary must brush up on policing… where any reasonable lines of enquiry exist for the crimes she mentions, they are followed up”

Police must investigate every theft and follow all reasonable leads to catch offenders, the Home Secretary has said.

But Wiltshire Police Federation has highlighted how colleagues are already overrun and overstretched.

And this headline grabbing announcement misses the mark.

Phil Matthews, Chair of Wiltshire Police Federation, said: "When I read the comments from the Home Secretary, I have to wonder what she knows of policing, and I’ll suggest it isn’t enough. Where any reasonable lines of enquiry exist for the crimes she mentions, they are followed up. CCTV and other such avenues are hardly new.

“The fact that there aren’t enough convictions is simply down to the available evidence. The law in this country, quite rightly, is that one must have been proven beyond reasonable doubt to have committed the offence for which they are charged. There are no cases I am aware of, where police just don’t investigate.

“The Home Secretary talks of extra officers… Where are they? We are not even at the numbers we should be at if the Government had not frozen recruitment. They add the degree entry scheme, and we now have massive abstractions from front line so that officers can get their degree… this is not an option it is a must.

“Police officers now spend more time sat at a desk and making sure all their admin is spot on through fear of performance measures and now, the Home Secretary, with these imaginary extra cops, wants the public to think we are not investigating crime properly and we need direction on reasonable lines of enquiry.

“Is it any wonder the public opinion of policing is so low when event the Home Secretary talks us down?”

Phil added: “Front line police officers have seen an increase in 25% of reported crime, ‘extra officers’ is a myth, the workloads are unmanageable, and the cops are breaking. This Government has broken policing.”

Steve Hartshorn, national chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said officers were "stretched beyond human limits" and he was not sure how much additional pressure forces could withstand.

He said: "Undoubtedly each and every police officer in the country wants to provide par excellence service to the members of the communities they diligently serve and protect.

"But, unfortunately, headline grabbing announcements by the government will not help officers provide that service. It can only be done if the government provides adequate resources to officers and makes sustained investment in the police service."

The National Police Chiefs’ Council reminded the Home Secretary in an Open Letter that Chief Officers “have operational independence and are responsible for making difficult decisions around how best to respond to the breadth of priorities of local communities.”

It added that the recruitment of 20,000 police officers “has been welcomed by every force across England and Wales.”

Although it added: “The reality is that since 2010, the number of officers has increased by just 2.6%, while recorded crime has increased by 25%.”