Lancashire has lost one in five police officers over the last decade while violent crime levels have gone up.
The Police Federation says that “society just isn’t as safe as it once was”, and that the public are being let down by cuts to police forces. The latest Home Office data shows that Lancashire Constabulary had 2,884 officers in September, 34 more than they had a year earlier. It was the second consecutive year of increase.
But the number of officers is still significantly down on where it was in September 2010, when there were 3,549 – meaning a drop of 19 per cent in eight years. Over the same period, the number of crimes recorded by police has increased significantly.
In the 12 months to September 2010, 104,376 crimes were recorded by Lancashire Constabulary – a figure which rose to 115,775 in the year to September, an increase of 11 per cent. The number of violent crimes recorded rose markedly, increasing by 83 per cent over the period. In total, 34,438 violent crimes were recorded in Lancashire last year.
Across England and Wales’s 43 police forces, the number of officers has dropped by 14 per cent since September 2010. There were 122,000 last year. Over the same period, crime increased by 11 per cent, with 4.6m incidents recorded in the most recent 12 months. There were 1.3m violent crimes recorded last year, nearly double the number in the 12 months to September 2010.
Police Federation of England and Wales chair John Apter said the public had been let down by the large cut in officers. He said: “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. 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. This is not a coincidence; we need more boots on the ground to help combat this epidemic.”