1. ITV Report

Police Chief says crime up after cuts

The loss of hundreds of police officers in Lancashire has contributed to an increase in crime, says a senior police officer. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The loss of hundreds of police officers in Lancashire has contributed to an increase in crime, says a senior police officer.

Acting Chief Constable of Lancashire Constabulary Chris Weigh 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.

He told a Lancashire Police Authority meeting that violent crime with injury, house burglaries and vehicle crime had all increased in April this year compared to the same month last year.

Violent crime with injury was up 5.8%, house burglaries rose by 8.4% and vehicle crime was 6.4% higher. Overall crime was down 5%, against a background of a total 34% reduction in overall crime in Lancashire in the last eight years.

The Lancashire Evening Post reported that Mr Weigh said: "We are taking 513 police officers off the streets. Targeting capabilities have been hit. Operation Julius (an anti-burglary initiative) was designed to tackle burglary spikes last year. How much longer can you continue to deploy Julius-type operations when resources are falling?"

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

Acting Chief Constable Lancashire Police Chris Weigh

Responding to the comments, shadow policing minister David Hanson said: "It is truly shocking senior police officers are saying that this Government is causing crime to rise. This is the latest in a long line of senior police officers warning of increases in crime due to the rapid and deep 20% cuts to the police. Theresa May and David Cameron were warned they were taking a massive risk with public safety and now we are seeing the results.

"16,000 police officers are to be lost with over 5,000 999 first responders already gone. Now we are seeing categories of crime rise with personal crime rising at some of the sharpest levels seen for years.

"The Acting Chief Constable of Lancashire makes clear that these cuts are causing worrying rises in crime and communities are suffering as a result with big increases in burglary and vehicle crime. After a 40% reduction in crime over the 13 years of the last Labour government we should be building on that record and not putting the progress we made at risk."The Prime Minister and Home Secretary don't want to heed the warnings from us or the crime survey of England and Wales but surely it's time they listened to senior police officers. They need to be focused on cutting crime rather than just cutting the police."