I beg to move,
That the Police Grant Report (England and Wales) for 2010-11 (HC 278), which was laid before this House on
This debate takes place against a backdrop of record falls in crime and record levels of police numbers. One thing that can be said about the Government, more than anything else, is that we have invested in police and policing numbers, not just through neighbourhood policing, protective services and collaboration programmes, but in relation to all aspects of the police service. I am delighted, therefore, that the British crime survey and figures last week showed a marked reduction in crime for 2008-09, compared with 2007-08.
It is worth placing that on the record because the police do a magnificent job, as has been shown by the fact that over the past year total recorded crime fell by 5 per cent.; vehicle crime by 10 per cent.; violence against the person by 6 per cent; robbery by 5 per cent.; sexual offences by 4 per cent.; robbery with a knife by 2 per cent.; and firearm offences by 17 per cent. Challenges remain, but I put it to the House that, whatever is said in this debate, those figures are good, particularly given that we are coming out of a recession. Normally, under such circumstances, crime would rise, but actually, over the past 12 months, in what have been-by any stretch of the imagination-challenging financial circumstances, crime has fallen.
That can be added to the overall drop in crime of 36 per cent. since 1997, which is a very positive thing. The House will also know that the British crime survey last week showed that confidence in policing is now at 50 per cent. and that the chance of being a victim of crime is the lowest since records began. That is the backdrop to today's settlement and discussion. Coupled with those falls in crime, last week I was able to announce historically high numbers of police officers and staff on the streets. Figures published last week show that police officer strength remains at 142,688, which is an increase of nearly 17,000 officers over the past 13 years.
Obviously there are variations, challenges and difficulties, which no doubt will come out in the debate, but the record numbers of police officers, and indeed police community support officers-more than 16,000-show that today's settlement is building on a history of strong settlements that have seen crime fall, policing numbers rise and the introduction of PCSOs. The levels of confidence in policing and the fact that a person's chance of being a victim of crime is the lowest ever show that the Government have done a good job to date.
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