Chesterfield MP voices concerns about Government cuts to Derbyshire police

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins.
Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins.

The Home Office has hit back after Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins said Government cuts to Derbyshire Constabulary have led to a rise in violent crime in the county.

Mr Perkins said the force is receiving a £99.8million police grant from central Government this year - down from £116.2m in 2010-11.

According to the county's Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa, Derbyshire Constabulary has lost 378 officers, axed 18 PCSOs and cut around 344 staff vacancies in the past seven years.

And latest figures show that the number of violent crimes reported to Derbyshire police has soared year-on-year.

In the year to last September, robbery rose 19 per cent from 515 incidents to 613 while rape and sexual offences increased 16 per cent from 1,661 crimes to 1,933.

Knife crime rose from 96 offences to 132 - an increase of 20 per cent.

Mr Perkins said: "There is no hiding from the fact that cuts in the Derbyshire police grant have led to less officers and PCSOs on our streets and an increase in violent crime and anti-social behaviour.

"The health and wellbeing of constituents should always be our top priority.

"We won’t accept soaring violent crime in our communities and we insist on fairer funding for Derbyshire police."

He added: "The police are doing a great job considering the limited resources they have.

"The growth of cybercrime is providing additional challenges and we’re seeing forces stretched too far.

"Our Chief Constables and Police and Crime Commissioners have done an excellent job in coping with cuts this far.

"But there is nothing left for the police to cut without cutting deep into service provision."

A Home Office spokesman said: "The independent Office for National Statistics is clear that overall traditional crime is continuing to fall and is now down by almost 40 per cent since 2010.

"It is also welcome that the police’s recording of crime is improving.

"We know the nature of crime is changing and the policing minister has spoken to every police force in the country to understand the demands they are facing.

"We have set out a comprehensive settlement to strengthen local and national policing, which will mean police funding will increase by up to £450m in 2018-19.

"The PCC for Derbyshire Constabulary has decided to raise the council tax precept, which will enable an increase in Derbyshire's funding of around £4.5m next year compared to 2016-17.

"In addition, in March 2017, Derbyshire Constabulary had reserves of £32.2m.

"We welcome the fact that the majority of PCCs are now consulting their communities on plans for next year’s council tax to either protect or increase frontline policing."