8th Dec, 2016

Police cuts has led to number of reported sex offences rocketing say UNISON

Stratford Editorial 9th Apr, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

SEX offences reported in the region have rocketed by nearly 40 per cent in the last year.

And violent crime offences also shot up by nearly 30 per cent – with public sector union UNISON blaming the increase on police cuts.

They say the rise is due to cutbacks after nearly 4,000 police jobs were lost in the West Midlands between 2010 and 2015.

This includes a quarter of community support officers, nearly 20 per cent of police officers and 15 per cent of staff.

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “Police staff have been cut year on year. The government keeps saying that this will have no impact on crime –  it’s illogical to claim that reducing the number of PCSOs, police staff or police officers won’t make any difference to offending rates.”

But Warwickshire Police – which is just one of the forces within the region to have seen cutbacks – say changes to how offences are recorded are behind the increased numbers.

Chief Supt Lee Davenport said: “The way police record detail is set by Home Office guidance and we were aware the latest amendments would show a significant increase in offences when compared with previous years.

“This is not indicative of increased offending but is reflective of the improvements to the level of details we record.

“While we acknowledge that the reporting of sexual offences has increased, this mirrors statistics seen by police forces across the country.  We feel the increase in reporting highlights confidence in Warwickshire Police and is a positive thing.

“This increase in reporting is directly related to the increase of historic reports of sexual abuse and high profile investigations with many offences having been committed 12 months ago or longer.”

UNISON is calling for people to vote in the Police and Crime Commissioner elections on Thursday May 5 to help safeguard policing.

Mr Prentis said: “We need to protect policing to keep local communities safe. Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) are hugely influential in shaping the future of policing. That’s why it’s so important that people turn out and vote in the elections.”

Visit www.warwickshire-pcc.gov.uk to find out more.