Statistics released today show that there has been an increase in reported crime nationally and on Merseyside.
Merseyside Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy has today condemned the Government for trying to deliver policing on the cheap, saying these statistics confirm the impact of ongoing cuts to the police budget.
She said: “The first duty of the government is to keep its citizens safe and the country secure. Sadly, this government has been trying to deliver its primary responsibility on the cheap.
“Police Chiefs across the country have repeatedly warned that this is putting our police service under unprecedented strain and is jeopardising the safety of our communities.
“Today’s crime statistics lay bare the truth of those warnings and bring into sharp focus the impact of seven years of savage cuts to the police budget. Crime of all types is increasing right across the country. It is also becoming increasingly complex.
“Not only that, but calls for service are at a record high and the terrorist threat remains constant, yet we have a police service at its lowest strength on record.
“I scrutinise the work of Merseyside Police. As do Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary. It is clear from our findings that the Force examines the threat, harm and risk to our communities more thoroughly than ever before. They are also working more efficiently; new technology and improved collaboration is making a difference and the commitment and dedication of the men and women who wear the uniform never wanes. They are overworked and underpaid, but they are doing a tremendous job.
“But it is only right that they are provided with the resources and investment they need to do their jobs effectively. I can only hope that these worrying figures finally force Ministers to recognise the damage which is being caused and take swift action to invest the new money which is so desperately needed into our police service.”
In the 12 months to the year ending September 2017, the force has seen an increase of 13.8 per cent in overall recorded crime compared to the national average of 15.3 per cent.
Violent crimes, particularly those that have not involved anyone being injured, have risen in Merseyside in line with national averages. There was a 16.4 per cent increase in violence in Merseyside, an increase of 4,430 crimes. There was a 17.3 per cent increase in violence recorded without injury, less than the national average of 24.1 per cent.
Sexual offences increased by 26.4 per cent, higher than the national average of 23.3 per cent.
Deputy Chief Constable Carl Foulkes said: "Although overall crime in Merseyside has gone up, this has been less than the national average overall, and in some cases is an indicator of increased public confidence locally and nationally in the way we investigate certain offences.
"There have again been significant increases in the levels of recorded violent crime, but I would like to reassure our communities that we have looked carefully at this issue and don’t believe our streets are any less safe. Most of this increase can be attributed to incidents where, although violence has been used, it has resulted in either a minor injury or no injury at all. Under recording guidelines, incidents like this must be recorded and rightly so but this does not mean that we are seeing more violence on the streets of Merseyside, just an increased recording.
"The increases in reporting of sexual offences also mirror an upward national trend. Public perception and confidence in reporting sexual offences has increased significantly in recent years. We welcome the fact that more victims of these historically under-reported, hidden crimes now have more confidence and trust in the police and want to tell us what has happened to them, as it is only through them doing so that we can take action against their attackers, as we regularly see with results in court.
"In recognition of this increased reporting in the past few years we are looking at ways to train more specialist officers to investigate these sensitive and complex crimes, where the victim’s needs are put first every step of the way and they feel supported and believed.
"We will continue to target our proactive resources in tackling the issues that matter to communities, while delivering an excellent policing service to the people of Merseyside.
"We will always prioritise those offences which cause the greatest harm to our communities, and we proactively investigate burglary and robbery offences, as these crimes can and do cause distress and harm to victims. But we must also recognise that as resources are reduced across the force, we will continue to prioritise our resources on a daily basis.
"Crime across England and Wales is a changing landscape and more modern crimes, such as Cyber Crime and Human Trafficking, are also priorities which we are determined to tackle through dedicated and specialist units within Merseyside Police.
"We continue to listen to the concerns of our communities, and continue our fight against serious and organised crime with the Matrix Serious and Organised Crime team (MSOC). We have always stood firm in our promise to tackle these issues and this will continue, with the latest PEEL report marking Merseyside Police as outstanding for dealing with serious and organised crime, and we welcome and act on all information provided by our communities to take dangerous offenders and weapons off the streets.
"This is combined with the dedication of our officers, who respond to incidents with courage, courtesy and professionalism, which we hope will build upon strong public confidence and keep our communities safe. We recognise that we cannot be complacent and will continue to strive to find the most efficient and cost effective way to deliver policing in Merseyside."