- First rise in more than 20 years, as government cuts bite
- Increase in shoplifting, theft indicate IMPACT of bedroom tax and other government welfare reforms
- Not all bad news – GMP bucks national trend for violent crime with big fall in VIOLENT ASSAULTS
After two decades of consistent reductions, crime has begun to rise in Greater Manchester.
The 1% increase was revealed by crime statistics published today by the Office for National Statistics covering 12 months to March of this year, and confirms what Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd has warned about since before his election.
“I have been warning about the risk of crime going up since before I was elected and it gives me no pleasure to say this appears to have come to pass. Crimes such as shoplifting and theft are symptomatic of the societal pressures that many people in our communities face. It is not surprising that when so many people have got into serious debt due to things like the bedroom tax, a small number turn to crime. Of course, it doesn’t excuse any criminal activity, and the vast majority of people in this country are decent, law-abiding citizens, no matter what their financial situation.
“It is also of concern that many of the crimes were we have seen an increase, such as shoplifting or theft of mobile phones, are what you could call ‘entry-level’ offences where criminals start before moving on to crimes like burglary.
“These figures indicate that the government’s reckless programme of cuts are damaging our communities. It is time for the government to face up to its responsibilities and stop endangering the good work carried out by police, other agencies and communities to build safer neighbourhoods.” Tony Lloyd
The figures show that recorded crime has increased by 1% in Greater Manchester. The areas which have seen the biggest increase are theft offences, which include areas such as burglary, mobile phone theft and shoplifting.
But the news isn’t all gloomy – GMP has seen a 4% reduction in assaults where the victim is injured, bucking the national trend where has seen an increase of 3%.
Tony added: “The commitment from the police service is there as can be shown in the fantastic news that our officers and staff are outperforming the rest of the country when it comes to lowering violent crime. But they need the support of the government, not just the people of Greater Manchester.”
Other figures out today also show that detection rates are falling in Greater Manchester, which could indicate the effect of the massive reduction of police officers seen in Greater Manchester as a result of the government’s programme of cuts. There are nearly 1,500 fewer police officers on the streets of Greater Manchester compared to 2010 when the government started its programme of cuts.
He added: “The public is bound to be anxious that detection rates are falling and police officer numbers have got to be a factor in that. Every day I see the great work that Greater Manchester Police officers and staff do, but the thin blue line can only be stretched so far.”
Greater Manchester Police’s Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy added: “Statistics are important but are not an end in themselves and we concentrate on those crimes which pose the greatest risk to the public particularly where people are attacked in their own homes.
“We have worked hard to increase the level of recording in certain crimes such as domestic violence and this explains some but not all of the increase in overall crime.
“We must always remember that most crime is committed by a relatively small group of persistent offenders with criminal lifestyles and targeting these individuals is at the heart of our crime strategy.”