For years we’ve been told by the government that you can cut police services without getting a rise in crime as a result. And for years that – seemingly illogical – claim seemed to be backed up by government crime statistics.
But after years of steady falls in offending, serious crime is on the rise again.
For a government intent on slashing police spending, their chickens are coming home to roost. And with the Police and Crime Commissioner elections less than two months away, there has never been a more important time to talk about the real impact of police cuts.
The government’s own figures show that in England and Wales sex offences rose by more than a third (36 per cent) and violent crime by more than a quarter (27 per cent) between 2014 and 2015. And this rise in crime has followed a cut in central funding for police forces of £2 billion in real terms between 2010 and 2016.
The correlation is clear.
Police staff have been cut year on year – with more than 40,000 policing jobs lost between 2010 and 2015 as a result of government cuts. That’s a 30% cut in PCSOs, 20% fewer police staff jobs and 13% fewer police officers.
The government keeps saying that this will have no impact on crime, but that’s no longer an argument that holds any water – reducing the number of PCSOs, police staff and police officers is bound to have an impact on offending rates.
This government wants you to believe that they are tough on crime, but they’re simply being tough on police spending, with inevitable and damaging results.
We need to protect policing to keep our local communities safe. And with Police and Crime Commissioners playing a hugely influential role in shaping the future of policing, it’s vital that people turn out to vote in May and have their say on the future of policing, before the cuts – and crime – bite even harder.