Violent crime on the rise because of cuts to local police, warns Emma

January 28, 2014

130904 - Emma Lewell Buck smallThis Monday Emma raised the issue of violent crime at Home Affairs questions, warning the Home Secretary Theresa May that cuts to local authority budgets had seen violent offences in Northumbria on the increase.

Emma told the House: “people across Northumbria are being unfairly hit with savage reductions in local authority budgets and a loss of nearly 400 front- line police officers, which has resulted in an increase in violent crime. With this toxic combination stretching the fabric of partnership working and community policing to breaking point, what steps is the right hon. Lady taking to stem the rise in violent crime and reassure our communities and my constituents across Northumbria?”

The Home Secretary did not deny that violent crime had risen in the area, but said that “The PCC and the chief constable in Northumbria are looking to use technology to work more effectively and looking at ensuring that they collaborate with local partners so that they continue to provide the effective police service that her constituents and the PCC’s constituents want in Northumbria.”

Northumbria Police’s budget has been reduced by £104m under the Coalition, forcing them to close 12 police stations and cut staff.  The force has seen some of the biggest staff reductions in the country, with 1,176 jobs – 17.5% of the total – being lost between 2010 and 2013 and more to come. Northumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird has criticised the cuts as “relentless and unfair”.

In the last year, incidents of violence against the person rose by 4%, while sexual offences went up by 11% and burglaries by 9%. Nationally there were 7,000 fewer violent crimes solved than in 2010, while the number of frontline police officers fell by 10,000.

Speaking after Home Affairs Questions, Emma said:

“Harsh cuts to policing are stretching police resources and putting members of the public at risk.  I know from conversations with the Police and Crime Commissioner and Chief Constable that every effort is being made to improve efficiency and maintain frontline services, but when over a thousand jobs have been lost in three years that is going to be extremely difficult, and it is not surprising that crime has gone up.”

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