There will be “dire consequences” for public safety if the government does not spend more money on policing, a parliamentary report has warned.
The Home Affairs Select Committee report ‘Policing for the Future’ claims that policing is at risk of becoming “irrelevant” as crime rates rise and solved rates fall.
Recorded crimes have risen by 32% in the last three years and the number of charges/summons has decreased by 26%, while neighbourhood policing in England and Wales has been cut by over 20% since 2010.
The group of influential MPs called on the government to prioritise policing in the autumn budget, warning that the police would not be able to fulfil their duties in delivering public safety, criminal justice, community cohesion and public confidence.
Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, Yvette Cooper MP, said: “Police officers across the country are performing a remarkable public service in increasingly difficult circumstances, but forces are badly overstretched.
“Crime is up, charges and arrests are down, and the police service is struggling to respond effectively to emerging and growing challenges, such as online fraud and online child abuse. Policing urgently needs more money.
“The government must make sure policing is a priority in the Budget and Spending Review, or public safety and communities will pay the price.”
Commenting on the report, the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) also called on the government to take action to ensure that police forces were adequately resourced to deal with crime.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said. “The Home Affairs Committee report highlights the significant pressures that police forces are under to deal with the rising levels of crime.”
“Convenience stores are an all-too frequent target for robberies, theft, verbal abuse, ram raids and attacks on retailers and staff. If a crime is committed, the police must respond and investigate, and the courts must pass an effective sentence.
“We need a collaborative approach to ensure that crimes are being dealt with properly rather than being ‘screened out’ or ignored.
“This means beat police officers, neighbourhood policing teams, police and crime commissioners, the courts and rehabilitation programmes all playing their part. Retailers are investing record amounts in crime prevention measures, but they must be supported by the police and the justice system,” he added.