‘Com­plex crimes’ to re­quire more po­lice

Western Daily Press - - News - DANIEL MUMBY Lo­cal Democ­racy Re­porter

Com­plex crimes are in­creas­ing and this ris­ing com­plex­ity has an as­so­ci­ated cost KARIN TAKEL

AN ex­tra 300 po­lice of­fi­cers will be needed in Avon and Som­er­set by 2021 to tackle in­creases in do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, sex­ual abuse and child abuse.

Avon and Som­er­set Con­stab­u­lary is pre­dict­ing an “op­er­a­tional de­liv­ery gap” of £15 mil­lion as the num­ber of com­plex crimes is set to rise.

Po­lice and crime com­mis­sioner Sue Mountstevens said the new of­fi­cers could be funded if the na­tional fund­ing for­mula for po­lice forces was changed to give Som­er­set its “fair share”.

The po­lice and crime panel, which brings to­gether the po­lice force and all of the lo­cal au­thor­i­ties it cov­ers, met in We­ston­super-Mare this week to dis­cuss the prob­lem.

The is­sue was flagged up within the po­lice crime and needs assess­ment, which lays out “the most sig­nif­i­cant is­sues, risks and threats” to the Avon and Som­er­set area and set out the force’s pri­or­i­ties in re­sponse to th­ese.

Karin Takel, the po­lice and crime com­mis­sioner’s strate­gic plan­ning and per­for­mance of­fi­cer, high­lighted the need for more of­fi­cers to tackle com­plex crimes in her writ­ten re­port.

She said: “We pre­dict there will be an in­crease in the fu­ture of recorded crimes of do­mes­tic abuse, sex­ual abuse and child abuse.

“Com­plex crimes are in­creas­ing and this ris­ing com­plex­ity has an as­so­ci­ated cost.

“Based on con­ser­va­tive es­ti­mates of time taken to re­solve in­di­vid­ual in­ci­dents, we have es­ti­mated an op­er­a­tional de­liv­ery gap of a fur­ther £15m by 2020/21 in ad­di­tion to that de­scribed by our fi­nan­cial risk assess­ment.

“This equates to 300 ad­di­tional po­lice of­fi­cers.”

Ms Takel cited fe­male gen­i­tal mu­ti­la­tion (FGM) as an ex­am­ple of the rise in com­plex crimes.

The num­ber of recorded crimes con­nected to FGM rose from 20 in 2013/14 to 83 in 2016/17.

She added: “Po­lice are re­quired to pri­ori­tise a re­sponse based on threat, harm and risk.

“Ca­pac­ity is stretched and the abil­ity to re­spond ef­fec­tively or in a timely way, meet­ing pub­lic ex­pec­ta­tions of ser­vice, is not con­sis­tently at the de­sired lev­els across the polic­ing area.”

Ms Mountstevens said Avon and Som­er­set had not re­ceived a fair level of fund­ing from cen­tral govern­ment in pre­vi­ous years.

She ar­gued that a re­view of the na­tional fund­ing for­mula would al­low more than 300 ex­tra of­fi­cers to be re­cruited.

She said: “If we had our fair share of fund­ing, we would have an ad­di­tional £18m per year. That would fund a fur­ther 350 po­lice of­fi­cers.

“The govern­ment is go­ing to re­view it in 2019/20, and then maybe we will get our fair share.”

Po­lice and crime com­mis­sioner Sue Mountstevens

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