06:32 GMT26 February 2021
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    New figures have revealed that the number of arrests made by police in England and Wales has halved in the last decade. Data from all but one of 43 forces show officers arrested just under 700,000 people in the year to March, compared with 1.4 million in 2007/08.

    Sputnik spoke to Peter Kirkham, former police officer and media commentator sor more insight on the issue.

    Sputnik: How significant is this?

    Peter Kirkham: It’s hugely significant. It’s precisely what we predicted would happen if the government proceed with the 8 years of relentless cuts to the police service in England.

    If you take 25% of the staff away, you’re not going to have as many officers out there doing proactive patrol and arresting people, out there investigating crimes and reactively identifying and arresting people so fewer officers equals less policing.

    It’s not a function to the amount of crime; the amount of crime is rising for the same reason, there are fewer police officers there to prevent and catch the guys doing it so crime goes up at the same time as policing goes down. Arrests are just one part of that.

    Sputnik: Being a former officer yourself are these cuts the reason why so many police officers are leaving the service and having to get a second job? Are officers afraid of the circumstances surrounding them?

    Peter Kirkham: They’re not afraid of them. They’re being burnt out by them. You’ve got officers leaving mid service, which was almost unheard of before, in such numbers that recruitment can’t keep up with it.

    We’re talking about a hundred a week leaving in mid-service from the Met. We’re talking about officers going off sick with stress because of the relentless and impossible workloads and they know they’re not able to do the investigations properly to the standards that they are required to do them because they don’t have enough time to do.

    They know that’s its only a matter of time before something goes wrong and then professional standards departments and the IOPC come along and point the finger saying ‘you haven’t done that right, you’re getting the sack’. All things taken together policing is actually in collapse and we are seeing police in collapse in various areas of the country and there’s a crisis in policing everywhere.

    Sputnik: Ok so what policies should we be seeing from the current Conservative government to reduce this failings and improve policing across the country?

    Peter Kirkham: There are only three things you can do to relive the pressure on the police service or in any organization.

    If an organization has too much work to be done properly by the staff it’s got, you either increase the staff number of staff so there are sufficient staff to do the work, or you reduce the demand.

    The police don’t really get much say in what demand comes there way, they would just have to stop doing something; or you reduce the quality standards that you require and the amount of bureaucracy which is the big thing required in the police doing the task but this government and no government in any way.

    They want more and more accountability. There are only three things you can do and this government and no government is intent of doing any of them. If the public want a decent policing service like we had 8 years ago then the only answer is to bring back the police officers who have been cut, which is around about 25% of the total taken out policing in England and Wales. If you want policing as we had it 8 years ago then you need to bring that back and as quickly as possible.

    Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Peter Kirkham and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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