A police chief has called on the government to reverse funding cuts to allow more officers to be deployed on the streets.
Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger has rejected claims from Home Secretary Amber Rudd that recent crime increases are not related to a lack of officers on the streets.
The clear feedback I receive is that the public recognise the excellent job our neighbourhood police officers do, they support them and wish there were more of them and I entirely agree.Barry Coppinger
He says that there is ‘no doubt’ a fall in police numbers in Cleveland has coincided with a rise in violent crime in the area.
Violent crime resulting in injury has risen by one-third over recent years, according to Mr Coppinger, with the force having seen its funding from central government fall by £39million in the last seven years, at a cost of 500 police posts.
Mr Coppinger said: “Officers and staff at all levels have responded magnificently to meet the extra burden this has resulted in and their performance has been recognised in recent inspections by the police watchdog HMICFRS where our neighbourhood police work has been flagged up as an example of best practice.
“That said, there can be no doubt that the fall in police numbers has coincided with a rise in violent crime in Cleveland.
“Three years ago there were 4,150 crimes involving violence against a person resulting in injury, and in the last year that figure has risen to 5,557.
“It is simply wrong of the Home Secretary to suggest otherwise.”
Mr Coppinger is now hoping for a change in policy to allow more officers to be deployed in neighbourhoods.
He added: “I have attended hundreds of public meetings across the force area.
“The clear feedback I receive is that the public recognise the excellent job our neighbourhood police officers do, they support them and wish there were more of them and I entirely agree.
“Any rise in violent crime is concerning as there is a victim and their family at the heart of every incident and the force also acknowledges that public space violence is an issue of public concern and that police presence provides reassurance to the public.”