Serious crime rises as police numbers fall, warns UNISON

Serious crime is on the rise again after years of steady falls in offending, and UNISON believes government cutbacks in policing are to blame.

Keen to encourage people to vote in the police and crime commissioner elections on 5 May, UNISON is launching a campaign to provide the public with the facts about police cuts.

Recent official 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

UNISON is warning that this rise in crime follows five years of government cuts to police forces in England and Wales. National Audit Office (NAO) figures show that central funding of police forces reduced by more than £2bn in real terms between 2010 and 2016.

According to Home Office figures, more than 40,000 policing jobs were lost between 2010 and 2015 as a result of government cuts. These include a reduction of a third (30 per cent) of police community support officers (PCSOs), a 20 per cent cut to police staff jobs, and a 13 per cent reduction in the number of police officers.

UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis said: “Police staff have been cut year on year. The government keeps saying that this will have no impact on crime, but it’s illogical to claim that reducing the number of PCSOs, police staff or police officers won’t make any difference to offending rates.

“We need to protect policing to keep local communities safe. Police and crime commissioners are hugely influential in shaping the future of policing. That’s why it’s so important that people turn out and vote this May.”

Notes to editors:

– The Office for National Statistics crime figures show the increase in recorded crime betwen September 2014 and 2015.

– The police funding and staffing figures are based on Home Office and NAO reports.