Serious crime rises as police numbers fall in Bedfordshire, warns report

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Serious crime is on the rise again after years of steady falls in offending, and UNISON believes government cutbacks to policing in Bedfordshire are to blame.

Keen to encourage people to vote in the police and crime commissioner elections on May 5, UNISON is launching a campaign to provide the public with the facts about police cuts and the rise in serious crime.

UNISON is warning that this dramatic rise in crime follows five years of government cuts to police forces in England and Wales.

National Audit Office figures show that central funding has reduced by more than £2bn in real terms between 2010 and 2016.

According to Home Office figures, 195 policing jobs were lost in Bedfordshire between 2010 and 2015, as a result of government cuts.

That total comprises of police officers cut from 1,246 to 1,087 (12.76%), PCSOs from 116 to 91 (21.55%) and police staff jobs from 881 to 870 (1.25%).

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “Police staff have been cut year on year. The government keeps saying that this will have no impact on crime, but it’s illogical to claim that reducing the number of PCSOs, police staff or police officers won’t make any difference to offending rates.

“We need to protect policing to keep local communities safe. Police and crime commissioners are hugely influential in shaping the future of policing. That’s why it’s so important that people turn out and vote this May.”