£100 thefts ‘not worth at­tend­ing’

Manchester Evening News - - NATIONAL -

PO­LICE in one county may be forced to stop at­tend­ing ve­hi­cle crime and re­tail thefts worth less than £100, MPs have heard.

Bed­ford­shire po­lice and crime com­mis­sioner Kathryn Hol­loway said there “could be an ar­gu­ment” that peo­ple should not be leav­ing valu­ables in ve­hi­cles.

Ap­pear­ing be­fore the Com­mons Home Af­fairs Com­mit­tee, she sug­gested the force was hav­ing to look at what it is “not able to do” fol­low­ing bud­get squeezes.

She said: “Two ex­am­ples that have been sug­gested are that we would not be at­tend­ing ve­hi­cle crime.

“I sup­pose there could be an ar­gu­ment that peo­ple are in­sured and shouldn’t be leav­ing valu­ables in cars, vans and so on.

“How­ever, it’s also been sug­gested that we wouldn’t be go­ing to re­tail thefts of £100 and un­der.

“I have no ap­petite what­so­ever as the PCC for Bed­ford­shire in see­ing my county be­come the re­tail theft cap­i­tal for the UK.”

Ms Hol­loway said Bed­ford­shire has a bud­get in the low­est quar­tile in terms of cen­tral gov­ern­ment fund­ing and lo­cal coun­cil pre­cept.

She told the com­mit­tee the force has made nearly £35 mil­lion in cuts and faces a fur­ther re­duc­tion of £11.4 mil­lion to £12.5 mil­lion in the next four years “if things re­main un­changed”.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan also raised con­cerns over po­lice fund­ing.

He told the com­mit­tee: “We’ve reached a tip­ping point in re­la­tion to our abil­ity to keep our city safe.”

The Metropoli­tan Po­lice have al­ready saved £600 mil­lion and es­ti­mate they will have to find an­other £400 mil­lion in sav­ings by 2020.

Mr Khan added: “It’s not con­ceiv­able that there is not go­ing to be im­pact on the safety of Lon­don­ers.”

The de­bate over po­lice re­sources has been played out in pub­lic as min­is­ters pre­pare to un­veil the lat­est cash set­tle­ment for forces. A string of se­nior fig­ures have raised con­cerns over the ca­pac­ity to meet chal­lenges, in­clud­ing an un­prece­dented ter­ror threat and ris­ing lev­els of vi­o­lence, with­out a fund­ing boost.

The As­so­ci­a­tion of Po­lice and Crime Com­mis­sion­ers (APCC) has told the Home Of­fice that £440 mil­lion ex­tra is re­quired in 2018/19 and £845 mil­lion in 2019/20.

But Home Sec­re­tary Am­ber Rudd has urged force lead­ers to fo­cus on cut­ting crime in­stead of lob­by­ing for more money.

Forces’ ap­proaches to some of­fence types have come un­der scru­tiny in re­cent weeks.

Scot­land Yard has sug­gested it is “not prac­ti­cal” for of­fi­cers to spend con­sid­er­able amounts of time in­ves­ti­gat­ing crimes such as shoplift­ing and crim­i­nal dam­age.

Last week, a watch­dog warned that po­lice are leav­ing “low pri­or­ity” in­ci­dents and crimes un­re­solved for long pe­ri­ods, or with­out a re­sponse at all.

Kathryn Hol­loway

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