Police call for ‘more boots on the ground’ as homicides increase 14%

Police call for ‘more boots on the ground’ as homicides increase 14%

The Police Federation of England and Wales has called for 'more boots on the ground' to tackle violent crime.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Police officers are calling for "more boots on the ground" as figures reveal a 14% rise in homicides - the highest number since 2008.

Official police-recorded data from forces in England and Wales shows violent crimes are up by 19% in the year to September 2018.

Offences involving a knife rose by 8%, while hospital admissions for assaults involving a sharp implement increased by 15% in England.

It comes amid a 7% year-on-year rise in overall crime, with a total of 5,723,182 offences recorded - the highest number in a 12-month period since the year ending March 2004, when there were 6 million.

The figures released by the Office for National Statistics on Thursday show there were 90 more homicides recorded by the police in the year to September 2018 - excluding victims of large-scale incidents such as terror attacks - with the total number up from 649 in 2017 to 739.


'Terrifying spiral of violence'

The Police Federation of England and Wales said the figures portray "a country in the grip of a terrifying spiral of violence as an embattled police service struggles to cope".

National chair John Apter said: "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."

He said the rising murder toll and increase in knife-related hospital admissions paint a "terrifying picture" for "communities whose lives are being blighted by violent crime on a daily basis".

Mr Apter added: "Yet we have a Government whose own Violent Crime Strategy omitted to mention that the number of police officers has plummeted by around 22,000 since 2010, 80% from the frontline.

"This is not a coincidence; we need more boots on the ground to help combat this epidemic."

Separate figures released by the Home Office on Thursday show police officer numbers have fallen by 15% since a peak of 144,353 in 2009.

There were 21,958 fewer by the end of September 2018, but an extra 0.4% - or 466 more officers - from 2017 represents the first year-on-year increase since 2009.

Mr Apter said: "I suspect it is merely a blip and in any case it is not enough to compete with the increasing rate of violent crime.

"Tackling this level of violence needs an immediate re-think and we sincerely want to work with Government to help turn this around."


'Cuts have consequences'

Speaking during a visit to Wolverton, near Milton Keynes on Thursday, Jeremy Corbyn attacked the Government over the rise in violent crime.

"Cuts have consequences and the loss of 21,000 police officers has had a consequence on the streets of this country," the Labour leader said.

"We need to spend more on policing in order to get more police officers on the street but we also need to invest far more in housing and in youth facilities so that we actually create stronger communities."

Prime Minister Theresa May's official spokesman said: "These statistics show that your chance of being a victim of crime remains low, but we recognise that certain crimes - particularly violent crime - have increased, and we are taking action to address this.

"The Offensive Weapons Bill will give police extra powers to tackle knife crime and to get weapons off the street. The serious violence strategy puts a greater focus on early intervention and stopping young people from being drawn into crime in the first place.

"We have also put forward the biggest increase in police funding since 2010. It's encouraging to see the first signs of police officer numbers rising in the statistics today."