I am concerned by the dramatic rise in crime both in England and Wales and locally within the North Wales police force.
Figures published today show that total recorded crime (excluding fraud) in North Wales rose by 7%, compared with year ending June 2016 to year ending June 2017. Not only that but the figures showed rises in:
• Violence with injury – Up 16%
• Stalking and harassment – Up 23%
• Sexual Offences – Up 27%
• Domestic burglary – Up 25%
• Theft from a person – Up 22%
• Misc. crimes against society – Up 17%
North Wales Police have seen their budgets slashed by the UK Government by £4.3m since 2010 and 138 Police Officers have had to be lost to try and cope with the loss of revenue. North Wales Police have witnessed the highest percentage rise in violence against the person in the whole of Wales, closely followed by Dyfed-Powys and South Wales on 18%.
Nationally the number of attacks on police officers has also increased from 15,510 in 2010/11 to 16,530 in 2016/17. Police force numbers have been cut by 18,991 between that time indicating that the rise in attacks on police officers is more dramatic than first thought.
Since it became clear that the Government were to cut the policing budget by such a drastic amount I have been campaigning against it. As a former Police Minister I told the Government repeatedly that if the number of police on our streets is cut crime will rise. Again and again they ignored calls from MPs, and pressed ahead with cuts.
In the 2010-15 Parliament I campaigned with police officers under the banner ‘enough is enough’. The inability, or more likely unwillingness, of the Government to reverse their disastrous policy has resulted in further police officer cuts in North Wales – so far 138 officers lost – and we now have seen crime rising by 7% in one year.
What I find most concerning is the 27% increase in sexual offences. Our police are working tirelessly with an ever decreasing pool of resources. I praise them for their dedication but they will continue to be stretched because of the loss of £4.3m in the budget.