Monday, 13 May 2013

The government and their media lackeys recently made a big deal about a drop in the number of reported crimes in Britain, claiming the country is now a safer place than it was ten years ago (unless, of course, you’re unfortunate enough to live in one of our more ‘enriched’ areas).

But Britain’s frontline policemen tell a different story.

Police officers believe crime is rising but fewer offences are being reported and investigated because of cutbacks and a lack of faith in the justice system, according to a police spokesman.

The damning verdict flies in the face of statistics, released last month, which show crime levels at an ‘historic low’.

This week at their annual conference in Bournemouth the Police Federation of England and Wales will tell their members crime is almost certainly on the rise.

They say soft sentences imposed on offenders deter people from reporting crime and many 999 calls are not dealt with due to job cuts.

Crime in England and Wales is allegedly at its lowest level for more than 30 years, according to the Office for National Statistics.

But Steve White, vice chairman of the Police Federation, said: ‘The ONS portrays a picture of reported crime, but we believe a lot of crime still goes unreported.

‘Historically recessions have always produced an increase in crime. We would be surprised if in fact the real level of crime is not rising.

‘Our officers are not saying they are less busy than they used to be because there is much less crime. They are at full stretch.’

Mr White added that fewer people are reporting offences to get a crime reference number to collect on their insurance because fewer can afford cover.

In addition, just under a third of police stations in England and Wales have closed or are due to close, making it harder to report crimes.

True level of crime not being recorded

Mr Williams, who took over as Federation chairman in January, said there was considerable anecdotal evidence from police officers that the true level of crime is not being recorded.

‘Closing police stations and reducing the number of cops means it is not so easy for victims to report crime to us,’ he said.

‘And most significantly bobbies find themselves under huge pressure about how to record crime.

‘Crimes are downgraded in seriousness or the numbers are hidden. For example, if ten caravans are broken into overnight with ten different victims it will sometimes be recorded as just one crime.

‘And a stolen mobile phone will be recorded as lost property, and so will not appear in crime data at all.

‘If there is a crime where there is little or no evidence, and little chance of police detecting it, then that will be screened out at a very early stage so it does not appear in the stats.’

He added: ‘With property crimes such as burglary and mugging, victims would historically report them because they needed a crime number for their insurance.

‘People are now not too bothered about insuring their property and so it does not get reported.’

Drop in reported crime mirrors police cutbacks

In the latest figures published last month, the total number of crimes recorded by the police fell eight percent to 3.7 million last year.

This mirrors an eight-percent cut in the number of police officers employed in England and Wales since the Coalition came to power. The ConDems have axed 11,500 police jobs so far, reducing the number of officers to 132,235 – and 16,900 more posts will go by 2015.

The estimated level of crime in England and Wales fell by 5 percent to 8.9 million offences against adults, according to the Crime Survey for England and Wales, which asks the public about their experiences of crime regardless of whether they reported incidents to the police.

Separate figures showed the number of suspects arrested by police fell more than twice as fast as the decline in crime rates.

The Opposition said the nine percent fall in arrests raised concerns that criminals were ‘getting away with it’.

The Office for National Statistics has suggested that pressure to meet targets may be leading officers to downgrade crimes.

Home Secretary Theresa May faced booing and calls to resign from Federation members during her speech at last year's conference and is due to address officers again on Wednesday.

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