Responding to the crime statistics released today which revealed the largest rise in recorded crime in a decade, including an 18% jump in violent crime, Portsmouth South’s Member of Parliament, Stephen Morgan has warned that police officer cuts were “leaving our communities exposed”.
The overall figures released show that police numbers have fallen for the seventh consecutive year despite the promises made to protect both frontline policing and the budget in real terms.
At the same time, the latest Crime Survey statistics show the highest annual rise in police recorded crime in over a decade with an 18% rise in violent crime and a 26% rise in the murder rate.
Since 2010 police funding has been cut by £2.2bn which equates to in excess of 20% for each police force. The indepdendent Inspectorate of Constabulary has observed policing is now in a “potentially perilous state“ with a range of “dangerous and disturbing practices“ including investigations being shelved, vulnerable victims being let down and tens of thousands of dangerous suspects at large.
The Government promised in 2015 to protect the budget in real-terms. But the central government element has fallen between 2015-2018 by £330m. The reality of this means that police forces are once again being forced to cut the frontline.
Stephen Morgan MP said:
“Our police are at breaking point with crime on the rise. Yet the Government continue to force real terms cuts on our police service.
Hampshire Constabulary officers work day in, day out to keep our communities safe yet the rise in crime demonstrates that the Tories have left our communities exposed.
In recent months we’ve seen an increase in attacks on local small businesses. I’ve been liaising with the police to tackle this issue and stand up for small business owners across Portsmouth, but the government are letting us down with this task.
People in our community want to see the local police given the resources and the officers they need. The government must do more to fight crime and anti-social behaviour. That’s what the people of Portsmouth expect”.
Louise Haigh, Labour’s Shadow Policing and Crime Minister said:
“These damning new figures prove that this government cannot be trusted to keep our communities safe.
Thanks to years of Conservative cuts, police numbers are now the lowest on record, at a time when forces are under unprecedented pressure. You can’t protect the public on the cheap.
This is the grim legacy of seven years of Tory austerity; dedicated police officers fighting hard to keep the public safe with fewer officers per head than ever before. Labour will recruit another 10,000 new police officers to help keep us safe.”