Funding plea amid rise in violent crime as Lancashire Police at 'breaking point'
Calls have been made for more money to help tackle a rise in serious violent crime in Lancashire.
The Government has come under fire amid a wave of violence in London, where there have been more than 50 deaths linked to violent attacks so far this year, but the Home Office has denied cuts to police budgets are to blame.
Leaked research reportedly said falls in police numbers had 'likely contributed' to a rise in serious violent crime.
After Home Secretary Amber Rudd unveiled a new report of violent crime, which was criticised for making no reference to police officer numbers in the 114-page document, Lancashire's police and crime commissioner Clive Grunshaw said: “While the Government continue to highlight the need for additional resources for policing, they are failing to provide any extra money.
"In fact they have now forced the burden of funding policing onto local council tax payers.
"The reality is we are seeing more and more people contacting the police, with Lancashire having the highest volume of calls for its population outside London. The demands being placed on the force continue to put a significant strain on frontline policing.
"Time and again I have said the government must open their eyes and understand the impact that austerity in policing, and throughout the public sector, is having. Sadly, when the time has come for action, all we get are rehashed policies and no extra resources."
Years of austerity have seen Lancashire Police make savings of more than £84m since 2010, leading to the loss of around 800 police officers and 350 police staff.
Figures published earlier this year showed there were 16,442 violent crimes resulting in injury in Lancashire in the 12 months up to September 2017 - a 13.7 per cent rise on the previous year and up almost two fifths since 2012.
South Ribble saw the largest year on year rise, at 30 per cent, or an extra 175 offences. Preston followed with a total of 2,006 serious violent crimes, up 17.7 per cent.
Blackpool, which had the most offences in the county at 3,411, saw an increase of 16.9 per cent.
Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden said: “Blackpool is a unique town with millions of visitors coming here all year round.
"Lancashire Police has received no extra resources to help with that, leaving them at breaking point. The Tories are not just failing visitors to the town, but the safety of residents and the thousands of small businesses."
Ms Rudd denied seeing the leaked paper that apparently suggested offenders may have been 'encouraged' after resources came under pressure and charge rates fell.
Arguing it was a 'complex area' which is 'not all about police numbers', the Cabinet minister told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "You cannot arrest your way out of this."
The Home Secretary said police forces with the largest falls in numbers had not seen the sharpest rises in crime.
Speaking after she unveiled the 114-page blueprint to make Britain's streets safe, Ms Rudd said the Government recognised officers had come under additional pressure following a rise in reporting of crime.
Ms Rudd said she had addressed this by ensuring forces 'have the resources when they need them'.
She added: "There are elements where police forces can do more to help themselves - there's efficiencies they can put in place, there is new equipment they can put in place."
Violent crime in Lancashire: The numbers
These are the number of violent crimes resulting in injury recorded in Lancashire in the 12 months up to the end of September and the percentage increase compare to the previous year.
South Ribble - 758 (30.02%)
Preston - 2,006 (17.72%)
Hyndburn - 961 (17.05%)
Blackpool - 3,411 (16.86%)
Blackburn with Darwen - 1,918 (16.52%)
Chorley - 964 (14.76%)
Pendle - 787 (13.07%)
Burnley - 1,226 (10.85%)
Fylde - 521 (10.62%)
Lancaster - 1,483 (8.09%)
Wyre - 809 (5.75%)
Ribble Valley - 293 (4.64%)
West Lancashire - 735 (4.11%)
Rossendale - 570 (3.83%)
Lancashire total - 16,442 (13.72%)