Crime soars as num­bers of po­lice fall

Cynon Valley - - YOUR NEWS - ANNA LEWIS anna.lewis@waleson­line.co.uk

CRIME in Eng­land and Wales has seen the big­gest rise in a decade – with a fall in of­fi­cer num­bers to the low­est in more than 30 years.

Fig­ures from the Of­fice for Na­tional Sta­tis­tics show a 10% rise in crime lev­els in­clud­ing vi­o­lence, theft and sex crime, lead­ing to con­cern from some that ser­vices are “strug­gling to keep pace”.

In the South Wales force area, sex­ual of­fences have risen by nearly a third, with to­tal recorded crime in­creas­ing by 9.2% in the 12 months up to 2017.

Vi­o­lent crime in the area has also grown by 21.4%

South Wales Po­lice have at­trib­uted the in­crease to greater pub­lic con­fi­dence in re­port­ing crime.

Alun Michael, Po­lice and Crime Com­mis­sioner for South Wales, said: “In re­cent years we have worked hard to place the vic­tim at the heart of ev­ery­thing we do and that ap­proach is clearly work­ing.

“It is im­por­tant to note that as well as an in­crease in re­ported crime – some­thing we ac­tively en­cour­age – the change in our record­ing meth­ods in 2014 has also re­sulted in a jump in vic­tim sat­is­fac­tion South Wales.”

The Na­tional Po­lice Chiefs’ Coun­cil lead for crim­i­nal jus­tice, Chief Con­sta­ble Simon Byrne, said: “The 10% rise in po­lice recorded crime causes us con­cern, par­tic­u­larly when the num­ber of po­lice of­fi­cers is at its low­est since 1985.

“It demon­strates how crime is chang­ing with hid­den crimes com­ing to the fore, old crimes are be­ing com­mit­ted in new ways and truly new crimes emerg­ing.

“There are gen­uine rises in a range of crimes like theft, knife crime in and some types of vi­o­lent crime, in­clud­ing homi­cide, and high num­bers tar­geted by fraud and cy­ber of­fences.”

The Po­lice Fed­er­a­tion of Eng­land and Wales (PFEW) at­trib­uted the fig­ures to ser­vices “strug­gling to keep pace”.

Steve White, PFEW chair­man, said: “What more of a wake-up call does the gov­ern­ment need?

“Of­fi­cer num­bers are drop­ping con­sis­tently ev­ery year yet our mem­bers are hav­ing to deal with not only more crimes, but the most unimag­in­able atroc­i­ties such as those in West­min­ster, Manch­ester and Lon­don Bridge.”

Home Of­fice data re­leased last week showed there were 123,142 of­fi­cers across all ranks in Eng­land and Wales at the end of March this year, thought to be the low­est num­ber since 1985.

How­ever, Down­ing Street said an­other mea­sure, the Crime Sur­vey for Eng­land and Wales (CSEW), was “more re­li­able”.

Po­lice recorded nearly five mil­lion of­fences in Eng­land and Wales over the pe­riod, 458,021 more than the same pe­riod last year.

South Wales Po­lice said the rise in crime fig­ures is down to greater pub­lic con­fi­dence in re­port­ing in­ci­dents

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