Government must do more to support police service

16 July 2015

Ministers must work with the police service to make sure adequate resources are in place to ensure public safety, the Police Federation has urged.

Steve White, chair, said the government needs to work with those who know and care about policing to ensure that resources are in place to tackle all types of crime. Mr White was speaking after the Home Office published figures showing police numbers were down by 1.1 per cent, or 2,222, over the year to the end of March and the Office for National Statistics published figures showing police recorded crime had risen by three per cent over the same period.

Mr White said: ‘The bottom line is that officer numbers are still falling while certain types of crime are showing a worrying rise.

‘Today’s statistics show that more officers are on the front line but the danger is that forces are merely robbing Peter to pay Paul and other areas of policing are suffering. If there are fewer officers it means that fewer crimes are going to be dealt with, fewer criminals are going to have their collars felt and fewer victims are going to receive the justice they deserve.

‘There needs to be a widespread and full debate about the shrinking numbers of officers and staff available to forces and how the service can best use the dwindling resources available. We are particularly concerned about the slow death of neighbourhood policing that we are seeing in forces across England and Wales.

‘With dwindling resources, the link between officers and the public they serve is in danger of being broken. At a time of heightened terrorism threat and with pressures increasing on officers from across the spectrum of crime, it is incumbent on the government to ensure that forces have adequate resources to meet these threats.’

Responding to Office for National Statistics figures showing a rise in knife crime, sexual offences, assaults and violent crime, Mr White added: ‘More needs to be done to capture the full picture of crime rates. Aside from the worrying rises in certain crime types, these statistics do not take account of all crime nor do they take account of all the other vital work that officers do including counter-terrorism, monitoring sex offenders, child protection, policing football matches and much more.

‘Crime is changing and for the first time we are seeing statistics that show that online crime, such a fraud, is increasing. But what about other online crimes such as identity theft and online child sexual exploitation? These are just a few examples of cyber-crimes that are on the rise but vastly under-reported. More needs to be done to provide forces with proper resources to allow them to serve the public as effectively as possible’