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Devon and Cornwall's rising crime rates cited as proof of link with police budget cuts

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: February 15, 2013

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Labour has blamed Government cuts for rising crime in Devon and Cornwall as MPs voted for reduced police budgets.

Under the budget package approved by Parliament, Whitehall funding to the police will be cut by 1.9% in the coming year.

Home Office Minister and Taunton Deane Liberal Democrat MP Jeremy Browne told Members forces "can and must" take their fair share of the Government's austerity measures. He added: "We have sought to protect the police as far as possible."

But in opposing the cuts, Labour pointed to the increase in crime in Devon and Cornwall.

Latest figures released by the Office for National Statistics revealed for the year up to September 2012, offences in the two counties had risen by 5% to 90,376 – the highest rate of any of the 43 forces in England and Wales. It was one of only two forces nationally to suffer a rise in crime in the 12 months to September, the other being Wiltshire.

It followed a 6 per cent rise in crime in Devon and Cornwall in 2011-12, which was double the rate of any other police force area.

Shadow policing minister David Hanson used the figures in tackling Cornish Lib Dem MP, Dan Rogerson.

Mr Hanson said: "When he stood on his election manifesto for 3,000 extra police officers at the last election, did he think that three years later he would go back to Devon and Cornwall police with a higher crime rate and 415 fewer officers? I do not think so."

Labour also seized on comments by the force's Conservative police and Crime commissioner, Tony Hogg, who has said taking the Government's offer of freezing council tax in exchange for a 1% increase in grant would leave the force facing a "fiscal cliff" in two years' time and an annual shortfall of £1.8 million.

He went on to propose and get the green light for a 2% increase in the police part of the council tax.

The Labour frontbencher added he was a "among a number of police and crime commissioners, not Labour members, and they are all expressing concerns and having to raise money".

The Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Panel recently approved Mr Hogg's proposal to increase the force's part of the council tax by 2% in order to protect officer numbers.

It means the police precept for an average Band D property will rise by £3.19 to £162.92.

The police grant report – which will see central government cash support cut – was given the go-ahead by MPs by 288 votes to 212, majority 76.

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12 comments

  • DaveyofCrnwal  |  February 16 2013, 4:00PM

    Two wind turbines worth £250,000 each are allegedly destroyed by saboteurs and we get told that "Crime is falling." The emperors new clothes?

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  • DaveyofCrnwal  |  February 16 2013, 3:51PM

    Isn't this really to do with the councils making money out of re-homing "problem people"? This certainly seems to be the case in North Cornwall. For example a person that I know has had his jaw broken by a council import and another person I know was stabbed (assailant not yet disclosed as it is still sub-judice) What I do know is that the man was in Intensive Care for a fortnight. Presumably he would have died without the hospital's excellent work and it would then have been a case of manslaughter or murder. AFAIK there are no methadone clinics in North Cornwall hence when Heroin addicts are imported by the council they have to go burgling to get money to get their fixes. The councils get the money and Joe Public gets the aggro. Sorry if this seems a bit strong but how can it be incorrect to call a spade a spade? If your home garden and sheds were repeatedly looted you would feel the same way too. Thankfully the worst bloke, "Mr Ankle Tag" the one man crime wave has now got 12 months at the Big House! Ha-Ha!

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  • falangler  |  February 16 2013, 9:38AM

    Cut's in police funding are not the only reason for increased crime rates, Poverty is the biggest cause and Cornwall being one of the poorest areas in the Country with low wages and high unemployment then it follows that crime will be high. More jobs with a living wage and less second homes would help lower the crime rate.

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  • Big_Ger  |  February 15 2013, 9:30PM

    A decade of Labour financial mismanagement, selling off our gold at bargain basement prices, handing out our money to every waster, scrounger and waif and stray or minority group, is what led to this problem!

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  • nickthompson  |  February 15 2013, 4:24PM

    ""If what we are told EVERY DAY by the Tories that cuts in funding,and staff number's in ALL our public services will lead to huge savings,and better sevices is correct,then just imagine how much MONEY,MONEY,MONEY could be saved by cutting all OUR public services COMPLETELY.""

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  • Tony248  |  February 15 2013, 11:19AM

    If cuts in the police service did not result in increased crime, it would run counter to all logic. So the "savings" being made are at the expense of increased losses, and therefore increased insurance premiums, for householders. So not, in real terms, savings at all. What Government is stupid enough to eat away at the basic fabric of society to save minuscule amounts of money? Cameron's.

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  • Juan11_1  |  February 15 2013, 10:58AM

    This story is a persistent one. Crime rose in the year 2011/12. Cuts are imposed after 2011/12. Give Labour credit for never missing an opportunity to mislead the public.

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  • EdnaFruitcake  |  February 15 2013, 10:49AM

    Rising crime in Devon and Cornwall, this can't be true, after 13 Labour years of tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime I'm surprised there are any criminals left. The socialists will be telling us crime doesn't pay next.

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  • nickthompson  |  February 15 2013, 10:42AM

    karenpk: It really need not be the stuff of dreams by the rest of the poulation,a job in the Police Service is open to all, and might I suggest that the pension (they have paid into) they receive after 30 years service is in some way a big thankyou from us ( who sit warm and safe in the office) to them for risking life, and limb on a daily basis over 30 years.

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  • karenpk  |  February 15 2013, 10:26AM

    Whereas the real truth here is that most of these officers were desperate to get out with their full pensions after 30 years service, some being in early 50's. The value of these pensions being the stuff of dreams for the rest of the population. If the public knew the true size of the lump sums and annual pensions being awarded there would be outrage. To put further pressure on the tax payer their Federation has now found a technically where they can fleece the public purse for more money.

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