A lack of resources is causing strain for Staffordshire Police in handling daily crime, the force’s Chief Constable has said.
Chief Cons Gareth Morgan revealed the problems of resourcing the county’d policing when he appeared in front of the Home Affairs Select Committee
He was giving evidence about the current and future challenges of policing.
Joined by regional and national colleagues, Chief Cons Morgan answered MPs’ questions on what the impact of real-term budget cuts, crime demand and the growing complexity of crime is having on the police service in Staffordshire.
“My observation is the changing nature of crime demand,” he said.
“My concern is whether I have got the resources available to match that demand in order to effectively investigate crime.”
He further shared with the committee how the service is over-stretched resulting from reductions in officer and staff numbers.
“Since 2010, there has been 500 less police officers resulting in a 26% decrease,” he added.
Crime Plus ASB Break down for Staffordshire Police reports 517 cases of weapon possession and around 29,00 cases of violent crime from September 2016 to August 2017.
According to the Office of National Statistics, there has been an increase in recorded knife crime, rape and sexual offences, in England and Wales.
These were pointed out to be adding extra strain and resource pressures for police.
Forces agreed, this meant having to juggle priorities and having the ability only to respond to crimes as opposed to effectively solving them.
Chief Cons Morgan said he was committed to finding the most “effective and efficient way of delivering and maintaining the best resource” he can for policing.
When facing a funding gap by March 2021 of £11.2 million, he assured he will make every effort not to reduce workforce numbers.
Finding a balance between dealing with the daily increase in crime and providing accessible neighbourhood policing, has been pointed out to be a priority.
“It is striking the balance between dealing with the daily increase in crime, while maintaining the public expectation for highly visible and accessible neighbourhood policing,” he added.
Chief Constables who appeared before the committee said it was about reviewing resources on a local, regional and national level to give the resilience to manage problems for the short-term.
Continued investment in policing is required however, to keep up with increasing and complex crime demand and to sustain a preventative model of policing.