Massive crime hike hits Wigan police force
The bobbies protecting Wigan borough faced a massive 37 per cent rise in crimes last year '“ one of the biggest hikes in the country.
Greater Manchester Police last night blamed new ways of recording offences, having to cut 2,000 officers and the complexity of tackling online crimes for the alarming increase.
Nationally police recorded 5.4 million offences: up 13 per cent on 2016. The sharpest increases, according to Office for National Statistics figures, came in the areas of knife and gun crime.
GMP’s 37 per cent increase was second only to Durham’s 40. Most forces’ rises were in single figures or teens.
Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said: “Today’s crime figures show what we have all known for some time – that crime has gone up across all areas of policing.
“While there is no single reason for this, it is true to say that new ways of recording crime and data integrity accounts for around half of this increase.
“We all know that crime is far more complex than in the past, partly due to the internet and digital technology, as well as the changing nature of crime with offences such as online child sexual exploitation and modern slavery - sadly a common occurrence.
“Our attendance at incidents is getting longer because of the complexity and the necessity to capture information to safeguard people and better record crimes. On average we spend 40 minutes longer at an incident that we did five years ago.
“Alongside this, of course, we have lost 2,000 police officers in recent years.
"This means that, for the first time, the public are starting to see and feel the impact of a reduction in numbers in terms of our response times to non-emergency incidents and the level of investigations we can conduct.
"Quite simply we are having to prioritise those incidents where the greatest harm is caused more than ever before.”
Mr Hopkins said that despite the “challenging set of circumstances” many partnerships and strategies were in place aimed at reducing crime and keeping neighbourhoods safe.”