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OPINION: Years of ineffective resourcing have left police forces unable to effectively respond to local crime.

‘People in Fenland deserve to feel safe in their own homes’

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Police in Cambridgeshire are taking an average of 15 hours 9 minutes and 15 seconds to respond to burglary calls, damning new figures uncovered by the Liberal Democrats have revealed.

This is a dramatic 37% increase on response times compared to figures from 2021/22, where it took an average of 11 hours 2 minutes and 24 seconds to respond to burglaries and a damning 238% increase on burglary response times in 2020/21.

Across England, police are taking an average of 9 hours and 8 minutes to show up at the scene after a burglary was reported. This is a 25% increase when compared to the previous year and an 87% increase on burglary response times in 2020/21.

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North East Cambridgeshire’s Liberal Democrats have slammed the Conservative Government for these figures, arguing that years of ineffective resourcing have left local police forces overstretched, under-resourced and unable to effectively respond to local crime.

This includes taking more than 4,500 Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) off the streets since 2015.

The party is calling for a return to proper community policing, where officers are visible, trusted and able to focus on responding to neighbourhood crime like burglaries.

Having your home burgled is a traumatic experience, and victims deserve a swift response from the police. Yet thanks to the Conservative Government, this is increasingly out of reach.

People in Fenland deserve to feel safe in their own homes. The fact that traumatised burglary victims are being left waiting for hours, wondering if the police will even arrive, is unacceptable. To think that crucial evidence may be lost in the process too is unforgivable.

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It’s time to finally restore proper community policing, so people can be confident that if they do fall victim to crime, the police will turn up and investigate properly.

FACT FILE

This data was uncovered by a FOI to all 39 police forces in England, 26 provided full responses. Their responses, which can be accessed here, provided the following data:

The average time (in hours:minutes:second) it takes for police to arrive on the scene of domestic burglary incidents in your force for the following financial years: 2022/23, 2021/22 and 2020/21.

Some forces further disaggregated their data depending on the priority ranking of burglary. In these cases, we found an average between all the categories provided.

Data on PCSO workforce available at: Home Office, ‘Police workforce, England and Wales, 30 September 2023: data tables’, Table 3.

THE AUTHOR: David Chalmers is Liberal Democrat Parliamentary spokesperson for North East Cambridgeshire.

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