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Chiefs eye government spending review as route to ?drive down? unprecedented levels of violent crime

Policing agrees that ?cuts, cuts and more cuts? are precursor to increases in homicide, knife and robbery offences
Published - 24/01/2019 By - Nick Hudson - Police Oracle

Chiefs are preparing a best-case scenario to government to take the pain out of the “serious strain” on policing as claims of a terrifying spiral of violence have pushed overall police-recorded crime to a 15-year high.

Homicides have increased by 14 per cent in a year while offences involving a knife are up by eight per cent according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council and rank-and-file have unveiled their agendas to fight the rising tide of crime, increased terrorist activity and fewer officers – calling for major rethinks but promising to work with ministers to drive down and “turn round” the fortunes of an embattled service.

Official data shows there were 90 more homicides recorded by the police in England and Wales in the year to September 2018, excluding victims of terror attacks, with the total number up from 649 to 739 – an annual increase for the fourth successive year.

It comes amid a seven per cent rise in overall police-recorded crime, with a total of 5,723,182 offences in the year to September 2018.

This is the highest number in a 12-month period since the year ending March 2004, when there were 6.01 million offences recorded.

Police Federation Chairman John Apter is no doubt regarding today’s problems, admitting: “Society just isn’t as safe as it once was, and although the police service is doing everything within its power, we are swimming against the tide and it is the public who are being let down.”

“This is a terrifying picture for our communities whose lives are being blighted by violent crime on a daily basis."

He cites the loss of 22,000 officers since 2009 as a primary example for needing “more boots on the ground to help combat this epidemic”.

Chief Constable Bill Skelly, NPCC lead for crime recording and statistics, is the first to admit that while the changes to how police record crime and increased reporting explain some of the increases in police-recorded crime in England and Wales, there are “real rises” in serious crimes like robbery and violence with weapons, which have a “devastating impact” on victims and families.

He thinks the ONS is “right to remind us” to keep the figures in perspective as statistically very few people experience crime, particularly violent crime.

But he added: “Rising crime, increased terrorist activity and fewer police officers have put serious strain on the policing we offer to the public.”

The NPCC says it is committed to making the case for additional capabilities and investment needed to “drive down violence and catch more criminals” at the next government spending review, although "equally important is driving up productivity and cutting any remaining inefficiencies”.

Mr Apter joins CC Skelly in his determination to tackle the growing level of violence that requires an “immediate re-think”, adding: “We sincerely want to work with government to help turn this around.”

Meanwhile, officers are having to deal with three knife offences a day on the UK’s railways, shock new statistics from British Transport Police show as the force’s federation believes it is no coincidence that in a time of “brutal cuts” to funding –crime is on the rise with communities “harmed by these decisions”.

Statisticians said the rise in homicides continues an upward trend since March 2014, indicating a change to the long-term decrease over the previous decade.

Many of the higher-harm types of violence are concentrated in London and other metropolitan areas, with new analysis revealing there were 128 homicides in the capital last year – the highest level in a calendar year this decade – and a sixth of the

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