Police to create 1,000 detectives in 12 weeks


CLAIM: Plummeting numbers of police have emboldened criminals, who believe they will not be caught.

REALITY: Police numbers have plunged from a peak of 143,769 in 2009, the year before the Tories entered No10, to 121,929 in September. In the same period, community support officers (PCSOs) fell from 16,507 to 10,056.

This means there are 131,985 uniformed personnel on the beat in the country’s 43 forces – almost as many as the 133,685 when PCSOs were introduced in 2003.


CLAIM: Cuts to police funding led to claims by chief constables that they can afford fewer resources, including officers, equipment and commitments, meaning their forces are stretched.

REALITY: Between 1997-98 and 2009-10, direct Government funding under Labour soared in real terms from £7.4billion to £9.5billion – 28 per cent.

The Tory-led Coalition forced police chiefs to tighten their belts and funding fell £2.3billion by 2014-15, to around £7.2billion. Since then, ministers have protected overall police budgets.

In cash terms, forces received £12.6billion in 2018-19 but were able to get another £450million by raising council tax precepts, accessing a ‘policing priorities’ fund for digital technology, firearms and forensics, and more cash for tackling terrorism. Home Secretary Sajid Javid has vowed to fight for more.


CLAIM: Curbs on stop and search have led to a surge in shootings, stabbings and gang violence because police check fewer suspects for weapons.

REALITY: Stop and search was introduced in 1984 and proved to be controversial. Violence has spiralled against the backdrop of reforms in 2015 by the then home secretary Theresa May to curb ‘excessive and inappropriate’ use of the power, which she said targeted ethnic minorities disproportionately.

In 2016-17 there were 303,845 checks, a record low, down 60 per cent from 904,089 in 2013-14.

But senior police chiefs, including Scotland Yard commissioner Cressida Dick, said frisking suspects kept deadly weapons off the streets. Last month Mr Javid told rank-and-file officers that the practice ‘saved lives’.


CLAIM: Criminals are increasingly using mopeds, scooters and motorcycles to rob victims because police officers are wary of chasing them.

REALITY: Crimes using mopeds in London rose by 50 per cent from 14,699 in the year to May 2017 to 22,025 last month – more than 60 times a day.

Some thieves remove their helmets to discourage officers from following in case they are killed or hurt in an accident and the police end up in court. Ministers pledged stronger legal protection last month for police chasing moped criminals.


CLAIM: A booming illicit drugs market – driven by middle-class users taking cocaine at dinner parties – is fuelling much of the violence, with gangs involved in increasingly violent turf wars.

REALITY: Cocaine use is increasingly popular among the well-off, with 3.2 per cent of people in £50,000-plus income households taking it in 2016-17.

Home Office figures show that between 2014-15 and 2016-17, killings where the victim or suspect were involved in using or dealing illicit drugs increased from 50 to 57 per cent.

The department’s Serious Violence Strategy (SVS) said drugs could drive up serious violence ‘by fuelling robberies to service drug dependence, or through violent competition between drug sellers’. So-called ‘county-lines’ drugs gangs that target rural and coastal areas use extreme violence, including rape and amputations.


CLAIM: Gangs are more organised, ruthless and focused on making profits from drugs.

REALITY: There are around 250 gangs in London with 4,500 members, with many are controlled by Eastern Europeans.

Gangs used to be based mainly on postcodes, with violence being used to defend territories and gang membership defined by ‘colours’ and gang insignia. Today, areas have become drugs marketplaces to be protected.


CLAIM: Social media sites are being abused by gangs to goad and threaten rivals, which has fuelled violence and bloodshed.

REALITY: In September, a gang video on Google was linked to the killing of Corey Junior Davis, 14, in east London. The SVS said photo and video-sharing sites were used to ‘glamorise gang or drug-selling life, taunt rivals and normalise weapons carrying’.

HM Inspectorate of Probation found that in a quarter of cases, a young person’s use of social media was directly related to their crimes. In April, ministers ordered websites to do more to shut down content promoting violence and knife crime.


CLAIM: Young people can easily sidestep the law by purchasing deadly weapons online from unscrupulous internet retailers.

REALITY: Inspired by horror films, so-called ‘zombie knives’ – which have been used in attacks and killings – have been found on the internet for just £10. Some 75 per cent of online retailers do not carry out age verification checks on buyers.

In a recent sting, Trading Standards officers managed to place orders for knives in 93 per cent of attempts, with 53 per cent of them leading to sales.

To curb sales of blades to youngsters, the Home Office said last year that buyers would have to collect knives in person.


CLAIM: Police have focused on cyber-crime, historical sex abuse, hate crime and online abuse as they neglect traditional crimes and walking the beat.

REALITY: Victims are more willing to report sex crimes, including historical ones, and police are more likely to take complaints seriously in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.

A record 145,397 rapes and sex attacks were reported last year – each one assigned to an officer. The figure was 52,166 in 2008.

The internet lets criminals break the law in horrifying ways, including child abuse images.

The police also encourage the reporting of hate crime. Home Office figures revealed there were 80,393 offences in England and Wales in 2016/17 compared with 62,518 the year before.

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