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Mon, 3 August 2020

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Mixed picture on crime statistics shows need for long-term funding

Police Federation of England and Wales

2 min read

See-sawing statistics show effect of austerity.

As the latest crime statistics paint a mixed picture, with knife crime at an all-time high, the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) continues to call for a long-term funding deal from the government.

Today (April 23), the Office for National Statistics’ crime figures for 2019 show robbery up 12% from last year, and a 7% increase in knife crime but a decrease in theft and burglary offences.

However, while the total number of offences involving knives or sharp instruments in England and Wales (excluding GMP) grew by 7%, rates of increase varied across police forces. For example, there was a 5% increase in London, 13% in the West Midlands but a 9% fall in West Yorkshire.

In addition, the number of homicides where a knife or sharp instrument was involved decreased by 8% - yet there was a 13% increase in London.

Responding to the findings, National Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales John Apter, said: “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-2008 levels.

“However, it will take time for the effects of this much needed investment to be felt and we can see the results in these figures.

“It is a tragedy that knife crime continues to spiral as my colleagues are stretched to their limits, and with fewer officers on patrol it comes as no surprise that street crime such as robbery has increased.

“The fact that some statistics have fallen despite this is a testament to the hard work and dedication of officers across the country.”

Other statistics include:

  • a 3% decrease in recorded offences involving firearms
  • a 1% increase in vehicle offences
  • a 2% increase in the overall number of homicides; this includes a single incident with 39 homicide victims, which if excluded shows a 4% decrease overall

Mr Apter added: “Understandably, the next, post COVID-19 release will look quite different, as long term lockdown will affect the statistics.

“What this current crisis has highlighted, though, is the other story told in these figures – that policing desperately needs long term, sustained funding unaffected by political priorities so that we can tackle crime head on.” he concluded.

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