90 days from today is Fri, 24 April 2020
30 July 2017
Wiltshire Police Federation has warned of the consequences of dropping numbers of police officers, describing figures showing a rise in crime in the region as “alarming”.
The reported strain on police workload comes after a Home Office release showed that the police force had the fewest officers per head of any region in the country.
Inspector David Ibbott, the chairman of the Wiltshire Police Federation, said: “Wiltshire Police has lost over 250 officers since 2010.
“The Police Federation has consistently warned the government that cuts will have consequences and that the reduction of 20,000 officers nationally would lead to a rise in crime.
“This has now been borne out by the latest crime figures which are disappointing and quite frankly alarming.”
Wiltshire has just 139 officers per 100,000 people, a third of the level in London, and 34% below the national average. A reduction in staff left the force 3.6% smaller in April 2017 than it was a year earlier.
Wiltshire Police were approached for a comment on the drop in police officers on Tuesday, but have so far not responded.
Meanwhile, recent crime figures have shown an alarming rise in recorded crime over the last year, with offences 10% higher during 2016/17 than during the previous financial year.
The largest rise was in violent crime, up 18.5% - nearly 13,000 incidents of violence against the person were recorded through the year.
Sexual offences increased by 13.3%, recorded robberies by 12.0% and public order offences by 11.5%. Smaller rises were reported in weapons offences, criminal damage and arson, and theft, taking the total number of recorded crimes to over 40,000.
The only category to see a drop was drugs offences, down 12%.
Insp Abbott said: “Policing in the 21st century is more demanding than ever before, as successive governments have piled further responsibilities upon the organisation without the requisite funding to match.
“Officers in Wiltshire are stretched to the limit as workloads have increased whilst the number of officers have decreased. They are regularly working on past their end of shift times to get the job done.
“This story is sadly replicated throughout the country. More disturbing is the fact that the cuts do not seem to be over yet.
“Wiltshire Police still has some difficult decisions to make to balance the books as funding from central government reduces further.
“The Wiltshire Police Federation is opposed to any cuts that will reduce police officer numbers, particularly at a time when crime is rising and the public needs the protection from its officers more than ever before.”