My Lords, overall crime is increasing and violent crime, as the Minister has just said, is increasing at an alarming rate of more than 10%. The crime survey does not reflect this because of the underrepresentation of young men, who are predominantly the victims of violent crime. Nor are murder and manslaughter offences reflected in it. Crimes that are more complex to investigate, such as rape, are an increasing proportion of the total, requiring more police resources to investigate them. Meanwhile, the proportion of offences resulting in a court appearance fell from 11% to 9%, the lowest since comparable records began in 2015. Despite government claims to the contrary, central government funding for core policing continues to fall in real terms, with the number of police officers at the lowest level since comparable records began in 1996. At the same time, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services said in its State of Policing report of 2017:
“On the whole, the inspections we have carried out during the past year show that the effectiveness and efficiency of the police service are improving”.
When will the Government accept that continued, damaging real-terms cuts to core policing budgets are helping to drive up crime, and when will they reverse them?