Calls for more police funding after crime rise in Peterborough

Cambridgeshire police in Peterborough
Cambridgeshire police in Peterborough
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Peterborough MP Fiona Onasanya has called for more funding for Cambridgeshire police after it was revealed burglary and other crimes increased dramatically over the past year.

There were 917 household break-ins during the 12 months to the end of September last year, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.

That is up by 38.9 per cent on the previous year, when 660 incidents were recorded by police.

Overall police recorded crime in Peterborough has increased over the last 12 months.

During that period 22,570 crimes were recorded, up by 23 per cent on the previous period.

Ms Onasanya said she wanted to see more police on the streets. She said: “These worrying statistics show that cutting rather than protecting those who protect us is not working.

“What will it take for this Government to realise the futility of knowing the price of everything yet the value of nothing?

“ Public safety is the first duty of any responsible government.

“You cannot continue to expect more for less when it comes to law enforcement.

“This is why Labour would look to recruit and properly pay our police so we can retain these much needed officers.”

Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner Jason Ablewhite said there were plans for more officers to be employed due to a council tax rise.

He said: “I am fully aware that there has been a steady increase in reports of a number of crime types over time and this is of great concern to me.

“While it can be partly put down to changes in the way crime is recorded, there is no doubt there has been a real increase in certain areas.

“I am particularly concerned about the rise in burglaries as I know how distressing this can be for victims.

“I have spoken in detail with senior officers about plans to address domestic burglary and have been reassured that they both understand the reasons for the increases and have plans in place to tackle it.

“Rises in crimes such as violent crime and domestic abuse require significant amount of police time to both investigate and support the victims.

“The Chief Constable and I have been working together to find ways of increasing police resources to tackle this rising demand.

“One of the steps the Chief Constable has taken is to review how local policing is organised.

“By simplifying the structure and reducing the number of senior ranks we are now able to recruit 50 new fully warranted officers.

“In addition to this, my decision to increase the council tax by £12 a year will allow a further additional 55 officers to be recruited.

“These officers will be focused on targeting serious crime in the areas of highest demand.”

“I want to reassure people that everything possible is being done by the police to disrupt criminal activity, bring offenders to justice and protect our communities.“

Superintendent Andy Gipp, from Cambridgeshire police, said there were a number of issues behind the rise - but remained ‘committed’ to tackling the rise.

He said: “I remain absolutely committed to protecting vulnerable people in Peterborough and attacking criminality.

“Part of the increase in overall crime reflects improvements made to the consistency of crime recording procedures and the confidence of victims to come forward. This is particularly apparent in relation to sexual offences.

“We are open, ethical and transparent in our crime recording processes and I want to ensure this remains in place. I understand this will have an overall impact on the statistics of crime levels, however I prefer this as opposed to the public not reporting crime.

“If we want to truly understand why crime is rising in terms beyond recording processes we must challenge ourselves regarding the drivers of crime – issues such as deprivation, unemployment, housing, access to and quality of education to name but a few. We also know, from ONS information, our area is challenged, from a national perspective, in respect of these core issues.

“We have benefitted from a strong working relationship in Peterborough with the council and other partners through the leadership of the Safer Peterborough Partnership. We will continue to work tirelessly to understand and tackle the causes of crime by producing joint plans and initiatives to tackle those issues within our control and influence.

“Tackling burglary is a force priority and we recognise the huge impact this type of offence has on victims. We are working hard to bring offenders to justice. A recent example being the nine year sentence handed to Rihards Ozols for a series of local burglaries.

“In addition to this court result, on Friday (2 February) Paul Priestley was charged with four counts of theft from a motor vehicle with a further 30 offences taken into consideration.

“When crime is reported to us we follow up all viable lines of enquiry, but we have to focus our resources on safeguarding priorities such as domestic abuse and child protection.”