Crime rise linked to cuts in police numbers, says union

It is 'illogical' to think that rising crime figures are not linked to cuts to police staff, according to a trade union.

Tuesday, 22nd March 2016, 1:21 pm
Updated Tuesday, 22nd March 2016, 1:42 pm
Cuts to police staff are linked to a rise in crime numbers, argues Unison.

Statistics released by Unison show that the total number of police staff and officers at Cleveland Police fell from 2,628 in March 2010 to 1,634 in September 2015.

That is a drop of almost 38%, and includes a decrease in the number of police officers by nearly 24%.

At Durham Police, meanwhile, the total number of police staff and officers dropped from 2,602 to 2,111.

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Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that in the year from September 2014 to September 2015, the total amount of crime reported to Cleveland Police increased by 22%, along with a significant rise in violent crime (56%) and sexual offences (64%).

At Durham Police, meanwhile, crime reported went down by 2%, but was up 17% for violent crime and 6% for sexual offences.

Dave Prentis, the general secretary of Unison, 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.”

Cleveland Police declined to comment.

Gary Ridley, assistant chief officer for Durham Constabulary, said: “An official Government inspection recently praised Durham Constabulary as ‘outstanding’ at keeping people safe and reducing crime, the only force in England and Wales to receive this grade.

“This was a massive pat on the back for everyone who works for the organisation and shows that even in these difficult times, we are still able to provide a high-quality policing service for the people of County Durham and Darlington.”