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Police Federation reaction to latest figures

Warnings that falling officer numbers and funding cuts are having a direct influence on crime numbers, have been made evident today with the release of the latest crime figures, according to the Police Federation of England and Wales.

The report released by Office for National Statistics in its Crime Survey of England and Wales asks people about their experience of crime, and showed a decrease of 10 percent from 2016; however police recorded crime showed an increase of 14 percent.

The report also showed a significant rise in knife crime (up 21 per cent) and gun crime (up 20 per cent). The police recorded crime figures also show a rise in all but four categories of crime.

Andy Fittes, Police Federation of England and Wales General Secretary said that the spin on the data that crime is falling, was just smoke and mirrors.

“When you look at the police recorded figures – which represents the reality of what our members deal with day to day - there have been significant and worrying increases in the majority of crime types. To say it has fallen is smoke and mirrors. Frontline officers are under increasing pressure and dealing with larger caseloads than ever before. This worrying rise in crime will only add to this pressure.

“The reality is there are around 21,000 fewer officers than there were in 2010 and they are having to deal with an ever-increasing number of crimes. This is on top of the numerous other roles they undertake as they serve the public.

“Countering terrorists who seek to attack our way of life; managing sex offenders in the community; preventing child sexual exploitation; looking for missing persons; dealing with people with mental health problems; policing football matches; policing pubs and clubs; house to house inquiries and taking statements are just some of the key areas of police work not covered in these statistics.

“The government will no doubt jump on the headline figures but they need to accept the simple reality that the result of cutting police officers and funding is a rise in crime. They have to acknowledge this and act now to remedy it.”

The report also found:

  • an increase of 29 per cent in rape allegations
  • a 36 per cent rise in stalking and harassment
  • domestic burglary increasing by almost a third (32 per cent)
  • theft of motor vehicle increasing by a fifth (20 per cent).

There has been apparent fall of drug possession (down by seven per cent). However, with many forces reducing the number of stop and searches undertaken by officers, this is unlikely to reflect the true reality on the ground.

The ONS report covers October 2016 to September 2017.