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Fri, 14 August 2020

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Officer uplift needed ‘now more than ever’ - Police Federation's National Chair responds to statistics as knife crime reaches record high

Police Federation of England and Wales

2 min read Member content

The 20,000 officer uplift will be vital to help drive down street offences as knife crime soars to its highest level on record, says the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW).

The number of offences involving a knife or sharp weapon rose by six per cent to 46,265, according to the Office of National Statistics covering the pre-lockdown period of January to the end of March.

Robbery also increased for the fifth year in a row, by six percent (to 83,241 offences) compared with the previous year.

PFEW National Chair John Apter said: “While it is heartening to see statistics confirming some crimes are down, I have serious concerns about the rise in homicide, knife crime, and robbery. It is a tragedy these crimes continue to spiral as my colleagues are stretched to their limits, but with fewer officers available to be out on patrol it comes as no surprise.

“More than ever we need a visible presence and deterrent to violent crime. We need more officers available to deter and prevent these horrendous crimes and ease the burden on over-stretched colleagues.”

He added: “Yet again we see the effects of austerity that have necessitated this current government’s investment in funding and the 20,000-officer uplift announced last year – investment that will still only bring us back to pre-2010 levels.

“However, it will take time for the effects of this much needed investment to be felt and before we see the results in a fall in these crime stats.”

There was a rise of 10 per cent in homicides to 683 although this includes the 39 migrants who died in the alleged people smuggling tragedy in Grays, Essex, last October.

However, many crimes have fallen including a four percent decrease in recorded offences involving firearms and a four percent fall in theft.

Burglary offences recorded by the police have also continued on a long-term decline, decreasing by nine percent.

Mr Apter concluded: “The fact some crime statistics have fallen, despite reduced officer numbers, is testament to the hard work and dedication of my colleagues.”

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