Crime in Hartlepool increased by more than 20% in one year as the town’s MP claims police cuts are affecting public safety.
A report that will go before the multi-agency Safer Hartlepool Partnership this week reveals there were 10,488 recorded crimes in 2017, an increase of some 1,800 or 21% on 2016.
Burglaries to homes and businesses and vehicle crime saw some of the biggest increases, while violent crime rose 14%.
Hartlepool MP Mike Hill commented after a leaked Home Office report said government cuts to the police had “likely contributed” to a rise in serious violent crime like that being seen in London.
Mr Hill said: “I was at a residents meeting only this week in the Burn Valley ward where one of the subjects raised was the noticeable lack of a visible police presence on the streets.
“Police cuts are clearly having an effect on public safety and the report leaked today from the Home Office itself acknowledges it as being a contributory factor to increases in levels of crime.”
Public service union Unison says Cleveland Police has lost 363 police officers and 33 PCSOs since 2010.
Mr Hill added: “With all the pressures a modern police force has to face, such as cyber crime, it really is no wonder that the days of the bobby on the beat are perceptively long gone in the eyes of some people and that citizens and communities are feeling abandoned and under threat.”
The Safer Hartlepool Partnership says drug and alcohol misuse and reoffending are key factors of crime in Hartlepool.
It has also asked a new Task and Finish group to explore if the introduction of Universal Credit has affected the level of acquisitive crimes being committed.
Chief Inspector Nigel Burnell said: “Police Forces are seeing an increase in crime on a national level.
“In relation to Cleveland Police, we have supported the introduction of more robust recording standards and operate an intelligence-led model.
“This model prioritises according to the threat, risk and harm and protecting the most vulnerable people in our society.
“In Hartlepool, overall we have seen increases in a number of areas, particularly with vehicle crime and burglary.
“These increases have occurred sporadically within the last 12 months and we will continue to work hard with partner agencies to prevent crime across the town.”