Friday, 8 June 2012

Lancashire police cuts causing more crime, says acting chief constable

Lancashire Police's acting chief constable Chris Weigh told a meeting of the Lancashire Police Authority that the loss of police officers following funding cuts has contributed to a rise in crime in the county.

Despite Tory government claims that police cuts should only affect "back room staff", it's claimed savings of £42m needed over the next four years from Lancashire Constabulary's current £287m annual budget mean some 513 police officers have been taken off the streets.

Chris Weigh told the meeting that this had led to an "inevitable" increase in the number of offences and said Government-imposed public sector cuts were a factor in a rise in particular offences, although crime as a whole remained "historically low" in the county.
"Operation Julius was designed to tackle burglary spikes last year," he said. "How much longer can you continue to deploy Julius-type operations when resources are falling?"

BBC News reports that figures released in April showed serious acquisitive crime rose 8 per cent, house burglaries were up 8.4 per cent, vehicle crime was up 6.4 per cent and assault without injury was up 15 per cent.

"There is a genuine real increase in offending. There is no doubt the courts are behaving differently," Mr Weigh told the meeting. "There is evidence that people are struggling to get people remanded in custody, and there are some new crime types emerging."

His view mirrors that of the chief constable of Lancashire Steve Finnigan, who is currently on sick leave, who had previously said budget cuts were hitting policing in the county.

Commenting on the claims, former Lancaster MP Ben Wallace, now MP for Wyre & Preston North, told TV News last night that the police should look to adopting the recommendations controversial Winsor Report on police pensions and renumeration, which he said would save forces more money, rather than cutting front line staff.

Lawyer Tom Winsor's review of police pay and conditions has already sparked a mass protest from rank and file officers.

Supposedly an indepedent review, few people realize that Tom Winsor - now the Government's choice for the next Chief Inspector of Constabulary on a salary of £200,000, to the dismay of Police Fedration - is a senior partner with global law firm White & Case who advised G4S in relation to its £200 million privatisation project with Lincolnshire Police Authority. The contract is the first of its kind to be awarded in the UK police sector. (More on this on the Police Inspector  blog)

Many police officers fear the creeping privatisation of he police, despite denial by the Government.

Lancashire Constabulary has lost 600 police and office staff from its 6,000-strong workforce since April 2009 and must lose 200 more posts.

See Also

BBC News - Lancashire Police job cuts 'causing more crime'

•  Lancaster Guardian - Crime up after Cuts

Police Inspector Blog: Winsor, Vested Intrests and Privatisation

White & Case Advises G4S on £200 Million Police Authority Contract

Tom Winsor Profile on White & Case

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