Cuts a ‘challenge’ for police

A local police chief has said that “policing in the wake of austerity” poses challenges, despite an overall reduction in recorded crime in the Moorlands.
Chief Insp Mark Thorley made his comments as he presented a summary of the past year’s crime patterns to a Staffordshire Moorlands District Council panel on Monday. He said the police had recorded a reduction in violent crime, but a spike in theft from and of motor vehicles in the region.
At the Community Overview and Scrutiny Panel, Chief Insp Thorley said: “Last year, following the challenge of moving to a new policing model I reported a 4% increase in recorded crime, the first rise in crime since I came to the Moorlands policing team. This year I am pleased to report that I am able to again report crime reductions.
“Policing in the wake of austerity continues to be challenging. However, the Moorlands policing team continues to work hard, finding new and innovative ways of reducing crime and anti-social behaviour, working ever closer with our partners for the benefit of the community, with some notable successes but also the occasional spike in acquisitive crime.”
Summarising, he said the “good news” was that violent crime with injury was down by 311 reported incidents, as were residential burglary and criminal damage. The “bad news” was that theft from motor vehicles was up by 40%, with 45 more recorded crimes, and theft of actual vehicles was up by 9%, after a spike in October.
Chief Insp Thorley said that Biddulph had previously been a hotspot for anti-social behaviour, but following work from local police teams with schools they had been able to “educate and divert those who otherwise may have fallen into it”.
Independent Biddulph Town and District Coun John Jones was present at the meeting. In response to Chief Insp Thorley’s comments about austerity, he told the Chronicle: “I think the cuts that have been made have cut deep. We have seen it everywhere — policing, transport, in all sectors. I don’t pretend to know enough about the situation to say what needs to be done, but we did have a financial crisis 10 years ago.
“I would be hesitant to say that austerity was necessary; I don’t know enough about it, but in the climate we were in it needed sorting out. It is easing now, if the PM is to be believed, and we’re going to see more investment locally. We want to see more bobbies on the beat.”
Coun Jones added that while he was not criticising Staffordshire police, he had some issues with the figures presented to the panel.
“I think they do a grand job with not enough resources, but I want to know how many of the burglaries that are reported actually end up in court.
“From what I understand, it’s a very low number nationally. Chief Insp Thorley told me he has got the local figures and will provide them to me, and that Staffordshire police are doing better than most.”