Annual statistics released by the Home Office show that the decades-long reduction in crime in Greater Manchester flatlined in 2013, with crime going up in several key areas.
Overall, recorded crime reduced in Greater Manchester fell by 3.2% in 2013, but analysis of the figures show that over the course of the year the rate of the reduction slowed and by the end of the year, crime began to go up.
Police recorded crime figures for the first quarter of 2014, which are not included in these Home Office statistics, show that crime in Greater Manchester has risen by 2%.
Greater Manchester’s Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd expressed his alarm at the figures, and once again called on government to retreat from its reckless cuts policy. Since 2010, the government has slashed Greater Manchester Police’s budget by a quarter – with an estimated £114m-worth of cuts to come. The service has lost more than 1,200 police officers, with numbers at their lowest in decades.
“I have warned since before I was elected that the speed and severity of the government’s programme of cuts is reckless.”
“It gives me no pleasure to say that we are now seeing the impact of these cuts to policing and our public services on community safety in Greater Manchester.” Tony Lloyd
Worryingly, most of the increases seen in 2013 are in what could loosely be termed economic crime types: theft, burglary, vehicle offences and shoplifting.
“At the same time as slashing police numbers we have also seen the government introduce unfair policies such as the bedroom tax. It has long been predicted that this double assault could have an impact on crime, and we are now seeing increases in offences such as shoplifting and theft.
“The great work that has been done by Greater Manchester Police, partner agencies and local communities to build safer neighbourhoods across our region is being endangered. I have no desire to be alarmist, but these figures are deeply worrying.”
There was also a significant increase in sexual offences in 2013 in both Greater Manchester and across the country. The Office for National Statistics has said that much of this rise can be attributed to more victims coming forward about historical sexual offences following high-profile cases.
Despite the gloomy outlook, there is some good news. Violent crime is down across the board in Greater Manchester.
Tony added: “The reductions in violent crime are welcome and should reassure the public that GMP is working hard to protect the communities it serves, despite the dire financial situation. The commitment from the Chief Constable and I is that we will continue to ensure that GMP provides the best service it possibly can to the people of Greater Manchester.”
Greater Manchester Police’s Chief Constable, Sir Peter Fahy said:
“All our staff are working hard to tackle those crimes which most worry the public. We are concerned about an increase in robberies at small businesses and burglaries where mobile phones, laptops and gold jewellery are being targeted.
“Much of this is about the same group of persistent offenders going in and out of the criminal justice system and exploiting opportunities in the criminal market. The public can help us by taking common sense measures to make crime less profitable and by passing information on active criminals.
“There is no question that our continued budget reductions are a huge challenge but we will not be giving up on the long term record on reducing crime. At the same time there needs to be some caution on relying on recorded crime statistics as much crime on the internet and crime against vulnerable people is not fully reflected in these figures.”
Recorded crime figures for 2013
|CRIME TYPE||AREA||RATE PER 1,000||% CHANGE|
|Total crime (excl. fraud)||GMP||66.9||-3.2|
|Violence against the person||GMP||10.5||-7.0|
|Violence with injury||GMP||5.2||-9.2|
|Violence without injury||GMP||5.3||-4.6|
|Domestic burglary (ie in people’s homes)||GMP||5.8||0.6|
|Burglary in building other than a home||GMP||4.9||0.0|
|Theft from the person||GMP||2.1||9.9|
|All other theft offences||GMP||9.0||-2.2|
|Criminal damage and arson||GMP||10.4||-9.2|
|Possession of weapons offences||GMP||0.4||-8.2|
|Public order offences||GMP||2.4||-11.6|
|Misc ‘crimes against society’||GMP||0.7||-7.0|