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Rise in crime is ‘deeply worrying’, says Ipswich council leader David Ellesmere

PUBLISHED: 11:19 22 July 2018 | UPDATED: 13:03 22 July 2018

Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

The latest crime figures from the Office of National Statistics are deeply worrying.

David Ellesmere. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNDavid Ellesmere. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

For decades crime has been falling in the UK, but now it is on the rise.

And it is serious crimes that are increasing most.

Offences involving knives or sharp instruments rose by 16% nationally.

We are not immune in Suffolk. Over the last year, violence against the person rose by 16%, sexual offences 21%, robbery 23%, drug offences 28% and public order offences by 35%.

These figures only go up to March, so don’t include the recent wave of knife crime across Suffolk.

Perhaps even more worrying than the overall rise in crime is the falling detection rate.

Almost half of all crime cases are closed without a suspect being identified and this rises to three-quarters for theft offences.

Fewer than one in 10 crimes now result in a charge or summons to court.

So, you are more likely to be a victim of crime and the perpetrator is more likely to get away with it.

How have we come to this?

Under the last Labour government, the motto was: “Tough on crime. tough on the causes of crime.”

Under the current government’s never-ending austerity, neither of these are true.

Much of the help and support to keep people on the straight and narrow has now gone. We have seen this clearly in Ipswich, with the upsurge in gang membership and violence following the axing of youth provision early in the decade.

And the police cannot be as tough on crime as they were, because their numbers have been cut and continue to be cut.

Suffolk Police has now announced it is cutting the number of police community support officers – the eyes and ears of the police in the community – down from 173 posts in 2010 to 48.

Increases in crime have lagged behind police cuts, which enables the government to pretend there isn’t a connection. Theresa May told police officers to “stop crying wolf” in 2015.

Nobody believes they are crying wolf now.

The Police Federation have accused the government of “sleepwalking into a nightmare”. They are right.

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