The police can’t cope.
The number of police arrests and stop and searches are plummeting – just as violent crime and bloodshed surges.
The overall total held has fallen by 51 per cent, from almost 1.4million in 2008-09 to 698,737 this year, Home Office figures show.
The number of police arrests and stop and searches are plummeting as cases of violent crime continue to rise
Over the same period, stop and searches plunged from 1.5million to a record low of 282,000 – a drop of four-fifths. Total arrests are now at their lowest for 16 years.
But crime reported to the police in ‘Wild West Britain’ has soared to a 13-year high of 5.6million in the year to June – an average of one every six seconds.
Last week, official statistics showed murders, violence and sex attacks all rising. A spate of fatal stabbings and shootings across the country and the rise of ruthless ‘county lines’ drug gangs have fuelled concerns of a violent crime epidemic. Meanwhile, criminals have been convicted of at least 1,600 serious offences while under supervision on probation since 2011-12 – including 305 murder charges, Ministry of Justice figures show.
The revelations will further undermine public confidence in the police and heighten fears that officers are surrendering control of the streets and treating crimes such as burglary and assault as minor matters. The arrest and stop and search figures were published in a damning report by the Commons home affairs select committee, which yesterday warned that forces were struggling to cope and risked becoming irrelevant.
MPs said police were under ‘considerable stress’, with officer numbers slashed and vast numbers of crimes unsolved.
Yesterday’s figures showed total arrests in England and Wales down 8 per cent in the year to March – the lowest for that 12-month period since 2001-02.
Theresa May (pictured) ordered forces to curb their use of the powers amid concerns they fuelled resentment by disproportionately targeting ethnic minorities
The Home Office insisted the huge fall was linked to efforts to keep offenders out of court with on-the-spot fines and allowing suspects to attend police stations voluntarily.Meanwhile police stop and searches dropped by 7 per cent. The checks have fallen dramatically since then-home secretary Theresa May ordered forces to curb their use of the powers amid concerns they fuelled resentment by disproportionately targeting ethnic minorities. But police chiefs blamed an increase in stabbings and gang violence on the move.
Labour MP Yvette Cooper, chairman of the home affairs committee, said: ‘These are shocking figures. Arrests have almost halved over the last ten years and fallen by 8 per cent in the last year alone. The police are badly overstretched and this new data reaffirms that.
‘Arrests are going down at exactly the same time as serious crimes are increasing at an alarming rate.’
Yvettte Cooper (pictured) said the numbers were ‘shocking’ and that the police are badly overstretched
She called on Chancellor Philip Hammond to give policing a cash boost in Monday’s Budget, with funding falling by 19 per cent in real terms since 2010-11.
Former Home Office adviser David Green, of think-tank Civitas, said: ‘This is more strong evidence that if people do not fear being arrested or stopped and searched then they are more likely to commit crimes or carry weapons. It is painfully obvious that if you conduct fewer stop and searches then offenders will become emboldened and that is reflected in the rise in crime we are seeing and the violence on our streets. It is time the Government stopped turning a blind eye.’
Chief Constable Charlie Hall, of the National Police Chiefs’ Council said the figures reflected ‘our concern about growing demand and our ability to meet it with the resources we have.’
Yvette Cooper called on Chancellor Philip Hammond (pictured) to give policing a cash boost
Since 2009, the number of police and PCSOs has plummeted from 160,000 to 132,000. But some critics have claimed the police have got their priorities wrong.
Forces have been accused of indulging in bizarre publicity stunts, including painting their nails, instead of focusing on crime.
The Home Office said: ‘Arrest is just one of the powers police have to tackle crime. Arrest figures do not capture trends such as an increase in voluntary attendance at police stations and a greater use of other outcomes.’