No complacency over crime stats
LABOUR top cop candidate Olly Martins says that there is an “inevitability” that crime in Bedfordshire will rise should the number of police on the county’s streets fall.
Police and Crime Commissioner candidate Mr Martins said that officer numbers in Bedfordshire have fallen by 85 in the two years since the coalition government came to power with projections suggesting that the number of bobbies on the beat could drop by a further 47 by 2015.
Mr Martin’s comments come in the wake of Tory rival for the new role Jas Parmar’s claims that “it is possible to find efficiencies and better ways of working” following a drop in crime in the past year in spite of government cutbacks.
He said: “I wouldn’t be as complacent as Mr Parmar. Overall crime has fallen and Beds Police are to be congratulated for that but within those figures things like robbery and car crime have increased, so there are still worrying increases.
“Historically, the Conservatives have been the party of law and order but they seem to be abdicating that. I’ve heard from police officers that they’re finding it tougher to do the job as there’s fewer of them to go around.
“Ultimately, if I was elected I would have to work with the government grant that I’m given but I think that if there are a good number of commissioners elected from parties that don’t support cuts that’s going to give the government pause for thought.”
Crime in Bedfordshire fell by six per cent over the last year, according to new figures released by the Home Office.
In the 12 months up to March 2012, total recorded crime across the county fell by more than the national average to 40,795 offences.
According to the Office For National Statistics, crime across England and Wales fell by four per cent. Only 11 out of 41 police forces saw crime fall by more than six per cent.
Mr Parmar claimed that these figures show that cutting red tape had to be the next priority.
He said: “These official figures are a welcome sign of the good work Bedfordshire police are doing fighting crime locally but Labour refuse to accept that it is possible to find efficiencies and better ways of working.
“Bedfordshire Police have shown that you can protect the frontline and cut crime while reducing police budgets and reforming policing. They should be congratulated but all we get from Labour is cheap opportunism about privatisation and cuts.
“My priority is simple: to cut crime by tackling anti-social behaviour, slashing the red-tape which stops police fighting crime and being a strong voice for local people and victims.”
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