POLICE chief Philip Seccombe is confident the Warwickshire force can keep residents safe despite an alarming rise in crime.
New official figures show crime has gone up by nearly a fifth in the county – with 37,400 reported crimes in Warwickshire – nearly double the average rise across England and Wales.
The national rise, the largest in a decade, has prompted police chiefs to call for more government funding, and reverse cuts implemented in England and Wales since 2010, which have resulted in 138 fewer police officers in Warwickshire.
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mr Seccombe said he was confident there were enough officers in Warwickshire to keep communities safe – but added pressures on the police service had never been greater.
He said: “With Warwickshire Police needing to make £6.1million of savings in the current year and uncertainty on the amount of funding to be made available from central government, it is difficult to make accurate predictions as to future policing numbers.
“I will be continuing to press the case that the challenges here in Warwickshire are still significant and that any redistribution of the central pot of police funding must be done in a fair way for both urban metropolitan forces and smaller more rural forces like ours.”
He said that while rises in recorded crime were a cause for concern, some of the biggest increases were in areas where offences were previously being under-reported by victims – such as child sexual exploitation crimes, which had increased by almost 50 per cent in 12 months.
“In these cases, increases in recorded offences are positive as we know that this has been a type of crime that has been under-reported in the past.”
* AN INSPECTION has found court custody facilities in Warwickshire to be ‘reasonably positive’.
But chief inspector of prisons Peter Clarke also noted in his report there were some concerns surrounding how frequently detainees were checked on and the conditions of some facilities.
The inspection was part of a series of court custody facilities carried out by HM Inspectorate of Prisons.
At the time of inspection there were 13 courts in Warwickshire and the West Midlands which had custody facilities in use, including four crown courts, seven magistrates’ courts, a youth court and an immigration and asylum tribunal.
The number of staff was found to be adequate with staff dealing with detainees well but the report highlights some weakness in staff training.