UK 'overwhelmed by explosion of violence as officers struggle to cope'
New crime figures portray a country in the grip of a terrifying spiral of violence as an embattled police service struggles to cope, says the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) today.
As violent offences increased by 19% overall, with murder and manslaughter crimes at their highest level for 12 years, PFEW National Chair John Apter said the public had been let down. “Society just isn’t as safe as it once was, and although the police service is doing everything within its power, we are swimming against the tide and it is the public who are being let down.”
Other statistics also show:
- murders* rose by 14% in the past year
- hospital admissions from stabbings soared by a staggering 15%
- an 8% increase in knife crime offences brings the annual total to 39,818 and the highest number since 2011**
- robberies are up by 17%
- 24% rise in public order offences
- and sex offences rose by 14%
The police-recorded crime figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for the year ending September 2018 do not include knife crime figures from Greater Manchester Police, which would add more than 3,000 knife incidents to the overall total.
Mr Apter continued: “The murder toll has increased from 649 deaths last year to 739, an annual increase for the fourth consecutive year. This represents thousands of families and friends grieving all over the UK. The NHS says that hospital admissions in England alone from knife-related offences soared to 4,986 over the past 12 months.
“This is a terrifying picture for our communities whose lives are being blighted by violent crime on a daily basis. Yet we have a Government whose own Violent Crime Strategy omitted to mention that the number of police officers has plummeted by around 22,000 since 2010, 80% from the frontline. This is not a coincidence; we need more boots on the ground to help combat this epidemic.”
According to the figures, gun crimes went down by 4% and burglaries decreased by 1% but vehicle thefts went up by 10% and the overall number of crimes reported to police rose by 7%.
The Home Office also released the latest Police Workforce Statics today, which showed a slight 0.4% increase in the number of officers, bringing the total across all 43 forces to 122,395.
But Mr Apter said: “This isn’t a cause for celebration. This is a miniscule increase and this report does not include data about those leaving the service and does not undo the damage caused by the reduction of the thousands of officers we have lost over the last eight years.
“I would be interested to see if this minute upwards trend continues; I suspect it is merely a blip and in any case it is not enough to compete with the increasing rate of violent crime. Tackling this level of violence needs an immediate re-think and we sincerely want to work with Government to help turn this around.”
*Murder figures exclude London and Manchester terror attacks
** Knife crimes are more prevalent in urban areas with London closely followed by West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and the Midlands