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Has Government declared war on the police Forces face growing attack over value for money and time spent on the beat
Recorded crime drops by at least 10% in 19/43 force areas as budgets fallMore than 20,000 officers supplementing income with extra work, up 20%Police spend eight minutes an hour on frontline duties; 12% of working dayMP Keith Vaz: Recent events have 'shaken public confidence in our police'
17:22 GMT, 30 December 2012
Police forces were tonight facing a growing attack from the Government as tensions grew over their value for money following the fallout from the Andrew Mitchell ‘Plebgate’ affair.
Recorded crime fell by at least a tenth in 19 of 43 force areas across England and Wales, official figures showed – while budgets went down by just under 10 per cent, reported The Sunday Times.
And another investigation by the Mail on Sunday found that more than 20,000 officers and staff are moonlighting in their spare time – a figure that has soared by almost 20 per cent in a single year.
Effective policing: Recorded crime fell by at least a tenth in 19 of 43 force areas across England and Wales, official figures showed – while budgets went down by just under 10 per cent
Meanwhile the Sun reported that police
spend just eight minutes in every hour on frontline duties, accounting
for just 12 per cent of their working day – a fall from 15 per cent of
the day in 2004-2005.
Conservative MP Priti Patel said the figures were 'alarming', and added: 'In the age of austerity, it is vital that police resources are properly targeted – that means making them more visible to the public.'
report came as influential MP Keith Vaz said recent events such as the
Hillsborough Inquiry and the former chief whip’s 'Plebgate' have 'shaken
the public’s confidence in the great British bobby'.
Mr Mitchell resigned in October after
police accused him of calling them ‘plebs’ after they refused to let
him take his bike out of the main gates.
He has admitted swearing at police,
but denied calling them offensive names. However CCTV coverage released
earlier this month appeared to cast doubt on the police version of
Controversy: The alleged altercation between former chief whip Andrew Mitchell and police officers at the gates of Downing Street earlier this year was dubbed 'Plebgate'
Mr Vaz told the Sunday Express: ‘When questioned, almost half of police officers say they would prefer to work in another job, while more than 90 per cent feel that they lack Government support.’
Meanwhile it was revealed more than one in ten officers in England and Wales supplement income with extra work, raising questions about whether their outside interests conflict with police duties.
Work carried out by off-duty staff
ranges from a counter-terrorism specialist working as a vicar to a
personnel assistant teaching pole-dancing. There are even pallbearers
and an ice-cream salesman.
Among the biggest crime falls in
police areas from June 2010 to June 2012 were a 22 per cent drop in
Nottinghamshire, an 18 per cent fall in Northumbria and a 13 per cent
cut in West Midlands.
Lacking confidence: Influential MP Keith Vaz (right) said recent events such as the Hillsborough Inquiry and former chief whip Andrew Mitchell's 'Plebgate' have 'shaken the public’s confidence in the great British bobby'
But police forces were criticised today for spending so little time on the streets, amid claims most of the 90,000 bill for each of Britain’s 149,000 officers is spent on them cutting through red tape.
The TaxPayers’ Alliance report in the Sun showed West Yorkshire, Cleveland and Norfolk were the forces with the best visibility – and the worst were City of London, Warwickshire and West Midlands.
Among the biggest crime falls in police areas from June 2010 to June 2012 were a 22 per cent drop in Nottinghamshire, an 18 per cent fall in Northumbria and a 13 per cent cut in West Midlands.
Hertfordshire also dropped 14 per cent. Budgets have been cut over two financial years in those areas from 9 per cent to 13 per cent, reported The Sunday Times.
A spokesman for the Police Federation of England and Wales did not return a request for comment.
But chairman Steve Williams told the Sunday Times that the fall in crime in force areas across the country was 'testament to the hard work and dedication displayed by police officers'.