NHS figures show the number of stab victims in England aged 10 to 16 rose by 63 per cent between 2011-12 and 2016-17 – four times the rate of increase in the population as a whole.
So this seems to leave London as an area that receives most of the publicity but is in fact, no different from anywhere else.
Yet Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary claims that the increase in stabbings has nothing to do with a decline in police numbers but is down to better collection of statistics. Of course all statistics are liable to collection differences but it seems incomprehensible that the collection of stabbing statistics has suddenly improved – it implies stabbings were overlooked before, which when they involve not only the police but also the ambulance service as well as a hospital, that is just not credible. If the Home Office was not collecting these statistics properly then the Home Secretary of the time should be held responsible (even if, unaccountably, she got promotion).
The whole episode looks increasingly like another ‘fake news’ phenomenon. There is no evidence, but the dogma means that I’m convinced, so everyone else should be too. This is simply the Brexit syndrome in a different department.
Fortunately, the House of Commons Library has produced figures on police numbers – not just police officers but police staff as well [FTE = Full Time Equivalent]:
Not an awful decline one might think – until we realise that the population has increased by about 2 million 2008-2013:
And by 2016 the population of the UK had increased by another 1.5 million to 65.6 million, its largest ever. These are the most recent ONS figures.
Further evidence that Amber Rudd is telling us to look the other way is that for the first time since its inception, the London air ambulance service has been called to more crime incidents than road accidents.
Meanwhile the chart for the decline in Police Officers alone is striking:
Sure enough we find that the Police are often late in responding even when they do properly respond. They are too late and too few. There have been resignations of police officers through mental stress from rural areas, where there is no backup even if it were needed. Yet the government tries to suggest that this is because the Police are not somehow ‘efficient’ enough. What is an ‘efficient’ policeman? Perhaps they are the Essex police officers patrolling in Parliament Square though it is surely a long commute from Chelmsford.
The London Economic has a rather disturbing article written by an ex police officer in the form of an open letter to Amber Rudd:
Talking of figures Home Secretary…. Did you know that in the European league of officers as a percentage of each 100,000 of the population we (England and Wales) are sixth from the bottom? Below us are Romania, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Estonia. Doesn’t make you heart swell with pride that we are so efficient that we can manage with so few..
As we have already seen Home Secretary you are claiming that numbers are not a factor in the rise of street violence so let me throw this at you. The Met’s Homicide and Major Crime Command reckon they solve about 90% of murders in London; though I’ve heard that officers believe that success rate is dropping and will fall to 75% because of the spike in murders is leaving them struggling.
Still 75% is pretty good eh? But, did your people tell you that over 75% of street stabbings remain unsolved. So, if you die you probably will get justice; if you receive life changing injuries and perhaps are traumatised for life, the odds are that your attacker will escape justice and will be free to probably strike again.
Of course, if you threw a murder squad with all its resources at a non-fatal stabbing you’d probably solve that too but, well, there are simply not enough officers to do that are there? So, the ‘stabber’ is free to stab again and all his gang colleagues will be aware of that as will those in other gangs thanks to gang social media. Thus, most will know that if you stab someone and they don’t die you’ll probably be free to stab again as you won’t be apprehended. Does that impact on the number of stabbings? Well if you agree it does, the conclusion surely is that police numbers do matter.
…. the violence began to increase as police numbers declined as did stop and search as did cuts in child services, youth services, social services, the probation service, special needs education together with children’s and young person’s mental health services.
Then when Amber Rudd blames drugs he counters
The fact is Home Secretary our borders are a shambles which is precisely why you are seeing the problems with cocaine.
It is on record that The House of Commons Home Affairs Committee has said that the UK Border Force was overworked and understaffed and has “not functioned properly for a number of years.” Nearly half of all Home Office immigration decisions are overturned on appeal.
The whole ‘serious violence strategy’ is based on £40m being diverted from somewhere else. Regrettably this strategy means nothing, for, as we’ve already discovered, this sort of strategy is much the same as statute law as a wish-list.
There used to be a Conservative Party poster which became quite infamous: it decried unemployment and simply declared that “Britain isn’t working”. But for the current Conservative government it is not now word play, it is true. The Home Secretary may protest that there is nothing to see but The Home Office certainly isn’t working, everything about it is broken.
It is yet another dysfunctional government department which is desperately in denial.
Britain deserves much, much better and if the electorate properly knew where money came from we wouldn’t be subject to this gross mismanagement, which is, essentially, all about money.