Police cutbacks have been blamed for an alarming rise in crime in the North West.
Lancashire’s Chief Constable Steve Finnigan has admitted there are “disturbing trends” in the latest six-monthly figures and branded the Government’s 20 per cent budget reductions as “too quick and too deep.”
The county’s Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw has revealed he has written to Home Secretary Theresa May to express his “concern.”
And the chairman of the Lancashire Police Federation Rachel Baines today “strongly urged” the Government to look again at its programme of economies which have cost more than 500 officers in the county.
According to as-yet unpublished figures for the past six months, theft is up 7.8 per cent in the North West, burglary 5.4 per cent, vehicle crime 4.9 per cent and shoplifting 10.7 per cent compared with last year.
Chief Constable Finnigan said: “We’ve got to wait until we have a full year’s figures, but there are some quite disturbing trends. Nobody is panicking, but the sensible and professional thing to do is to try and understand what is the root cause of some of the things we’ve seen.”
Commissioner Grunshaw, who has just completed his first year in the job, added: “This Government should stop being complacent about the crime statistics and realise that there are consequences to their decisions. I have written to Theresa May personally to express my concern at the impact further police cuts could have. A tipping point is fast approaching. Crime has been at an unprecedented low but, as the cuts really start to bite, so we will start to see year-on-year increases.
“This Government needs to understand that high-performing, successful police forces need investment to maintain performance, not drastically diminishing budgets.”
And Rachel Baines said: “The rise in crime figures is not surprising. Policy forces are continuing to lose officers at an alarming rate and I can only deduce that is part of the problem.”