The Liberal Democrats are calling for urgent investment in community policing and youth services, as new official statistics show that knife crime and robberies have risen dramatically, while police officer numbers have fallen since 2015.
 
The crime figures, published today by the Office for National Statistics, show that:

  • There was an 8% increase in police-recorded knife crime from 2017-18 to 2018-19.
  • Knife crime has risen by 77% since 2014-15, to its highest level since records began in 2010-11.
  • There was an 11% increase in police-recorded robberies from 2017-18 to 2019-19.
  • The number of robberies has risen by 71% since 2014-15, to its highest level since 2006-07.

Meanwhile, the Home Office has also published the latest police workforce statistics today. These show that:

  • The number of police officers has fallen by 4,022 (3%) from March 2015 to March 2019.
  • The number of Police Community Support Officers has fallen by 2,823 (23%) in the same period.

Responding to the figures, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said:
 
“Britain’s knife crime epidemic is continuing to spread, and far too many young lives are being destroyed by it.
 
“People should be able to walk down their streets without fear of being attacked or robbed, but under this Conservative Government that simply isn’t the case in far too many places.
 
“Unnecessary Tory cuts to the police and youth services have taken thousands of police officers off the streets and left many young people without a positive alternative to gangs and violence.
 
“The Liberal Democrats demand better. We will give forces the funding they need to restore community policing, and invest in genuinely innovative and engaging youth services.
 
“After years of Tory failure, we need urgent action to make our streets safer and make people feel safer too.”

Notes
 
The ONS statistical bulletin ‘Crime in England and Wales: year ending March 2019’ is available here.
 
The Home Office’s ‘Police workforce, England and Wales: 31 March 2019’ statistics are available here.

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