Violent Crime continues to rise as the number of police officers drops across Cambridgeshire.
Violent crime is 90 per cent higher than nine years ago, while police officer numbers have dropped by nearly a tenth.
Leaked Home Office documents have suggested that there may be a link between rising crime rates and falling police numbers.
In Cambridgeshire, there were 15,975 violence against the person crimes reported in the year to September 2017, the latest figures, a 91 per cent rise from 8,364 reports in the year ending September 2009.
However, over the same period, the full-time equivalent number of police officers at the force has fallen by 7 per cent, from 1,438 in September 2009 to 1,332 in September 2017, a loss of 106 officers.
The Guardian reports that a document entitled “Serious violence; latest evidence on the drivers” says that as crime demand has grown and officer numbers have fallen, “so resources dedicated to serious violence have come under pressure and charge rates have dropped. This may have encouraged offenders.”
The document also says “[It is] unlikely to be the factor that triggered the shift in serious violence, but may be an underlying driver that has allowed the rise to continue.”
In the past year alone, Cambridgeshire has seen a 30 per cent rise in violent crime, up from 12,316 cases, while police officer numbers have dropped by 1 per cent or seven officers.
A police spokesperson said: “Some of the increases in violent crime can be attributed to improving recording standards and increased reporting of domestic abuse. Most violent crime happens behind closed doors rather than on the streets and the force is working hard to reduce all violent crime.
"We remain committed to keeping people safe; with offences of domestic abuse, serious sexual offences, child abuse, modern day slavery and burglary being force priorities.
“As part of a Local Policing Review – a new policing model that will deliver a demand-led and victim-focused service to provide much needed support to the front line – we will be recruiting an extra 55 police officers.”
Across England and Wales, there was a 20 per cent rise in violent crime, made up of violence against the person, both with and without injury, and homicide, in a year.
In the year ending September 2016, 1.08m violent crimes were reported, rising to 1.29m in the year ending September 2017.
Compared to the year ending September 2009, when there were 706,859 reports, numbers have more than doubled, a 114 per cent rise, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics, with most forces seeing low in the number of reports in 2012 or 2013.
Over the same period, police forces across England and Wales have lost 22,155 officers, a 15 per cent drop in numbers between September 2009 and September 2017, according to Home Office figures.
Numbers have dropped by 1 per cent in the past year, from 126,252 full-time equivalent officers in September 2016 to 125,364 in September 2017, a loss of 888 officers.
Download the Cambridge News app
We've launched our very own app for Android and Apple devices which can be tailored to deliver the news and sport that you're interested in.
Find out more about the app here.
National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) Lead for Serious and Organised Crime, Chief Constable Andy Cooke said:
“The police service is entirely committed to working with the Home Office and other partners to deal with the growing scourge of violent crime.
“Violent crime isnt confined to our urban areas; County Lines activity affects rural and coastal communities too. New funding for the National County Lines Co-ordination Centre will help us to target those organised gangs and groups who exploit young people and cause violent crimes to be committed on our streets.
“Tackling violent crime isnt something police forces can do alone – it requires a whole system approach. We continue to work with schools, charities and community schemes to educate young people and explain why carrying a knife is never the right choice. This early intervention plays a vitally important role in stopping young people from turning to a life of crime.”