Crime soars as numbers of police fall
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