Lancashire Police job cuts 'causing more crime'

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The loss of hundreds of police officers following funding cuts has contributed to a rise in crime, Lancashire Police's acting chief constable has said.

Chris Weigh told a meeting of Lancashire Police Authority that his force was taking 513 police officers off the streets.

He said this had led to an "inevitable" increase in the number of offences.

The force, which has an annual budget of £287m, has to save £42m over four years.

Mr Weigh said: "Operation Julius was designed to tackle burglary spikes last year. How much longer can you continue to deploy Julius-type operations when resources are falling?"

'Genuine real increase'

Figures released in April showed serious acquisitive crime rose 8%, house burglaries were up 8.4%, vehicle crime was up 6.4% and assault without injury was up 15%.

"There is a genuine real increase in offending. There is no doubt the courts are behaving differently," Mr Weigh told the meeting, according to the Lancashire Evening Post.

"There is evidence that people are struggling to get people remanded in custody, and there are some new crime types emerging."

Responding to his comments, Rachel Baines, chairman of Lancashire Police Federation, said: "He conceded that crime is going up due to a reduction in police numbers, which is what we have been saying will happen for the past 12 months.

"It is the inevitable result. Officers are being hit from every angle."

The chief constable of Lancashire, Steve Finnigan, who is currently on sick leave, had previously said budget cuts were hitting policing in the county.

He said in some cases officers would not be sent out to reports of crime.

Since April 2009, Lancashire Police has lost more than 600 police and office staff from its 6,000-strong workforce and must lose 200 more posts.

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