Criminal cases are being shelved and victims let down as police fail to carry out basic tasks in Britain, a police watchdog report has revealed.
According to the latest report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), the shortage of detectives and investigators in 43 forces across England and Wales adds up to a “national crisis.”
Almost 46,000 suspects are currently on British police ‘wanted’ databases, including 343 suspected murderers and 1,012 rapists.
“We are leading to a very serious conclusion regarding the potentially perilous state of British policing in this report,” said HM inspector Zoe Billingham.
“Over the last few years, HMIC has said consistently that police forces were managing well in increasingly difficult circumstances. Nonetheless, today, I’m raising a red flag to warn forces of the consequences of what is, to all intents and purposes, an unconscious form of rationing of police services.”
The report found that fewer arrests have been made and a large number of crimes have been “written off,” while inexperienced officers were made to manage complex investigations. It also uncovered cases of emergency calls being downgraded due to lack of staff and the need to slow down response times.
HMI @ZoeBillingham: two thirds of police forces are doing a good job for their communities, we’re worried about the other third
— HMIC (@HMICgov) March 2, 2017
Police unions have blamed budget cuts in excess of 20 percent for the crisis.
“Over the last five years, we have lost 22 percent of our money and 34,000 staff so this is not against a backdrop where we are doubling our workforce,” National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for crime operations Michael Barton said on ITV’s ‘Good Morning Britain’.
“This is against a backdrop of increasing work, more sophisticated different work, for example cybercrime, and with a significant reduction in staff.”
“You now get paid more if you are in uniform and working nights than if you are a detective having passed a lot of exams with a lot of responsibility – that is something we are seriously looking at,” he added.
HMIC: Police not registering organised gangs to avoid taking further action as ‘they lack resources to investigate’. Effect of Tory cuts. pic.twitter.com/TKpYO9wBRN
— Diane Abbott MP (@HackneyAbbott) March 2, 2017
However, Policing Minister Brandon Lewis insisted the government has protected policing budgets, placing the blame instead on failing forces.
“A number of forces clearly still have more work to do to ensure they are providing the level of service which communities expect and deserve – those identified as inadequate or requiring improvement must take HMIC’s findings very seriously and I expect to see rapid improvements.”