Crime is going up in the West Midlands for this first time in a decade, one of the region’s top cops has admitted.
West Midlands Police is facing an increase in traditional crimes such as burglaries, robberies and car theft.
And there has also been a growth in “complex, and often less visible” crimes such as domestic abuse, child abuse and modern day slavery.
The warning came from Louisa Rolfe, Deputy Chief Constable of West Midlands Police.
She said: “Our people are grappling with more calls, incidents, crimes and caseloads.”
It comes after Prime Minister Theresa May insisted crime was falling.
Speaking in the House of Commons on March 29, Mrs May said: “Let us just think about what has happened since 2010. Since then, crimes that are traditionally measured by the independent crime survey have fallen by a third, to a record low.”
The Deputy Chief Constable made the comments in a guest post for a blog published by Dave Thompson, Chief Constable of West Midlands Police.
She said: “After 10 successive years of crime reduction, we are experiencing an increase in traditional crime like burglaries, robberies and vehicle crime.
“At the same time our complex, and often less visible, caseload for domestic abuse, child abuse, modern day slavery and child sexual exploitation continues to grow.”
And she added: “While dealing with death and tragedy is thankfully rare, there is no shortage of other stresses and challenges.
“Our people are grappling with more calls, incidents, crimes and caseloads.
“This is at a time when, despite our substantial step-up in recruiting, we are yet to close the gap created by the steady stream of retirements since we last recruited some years ago.
“At the moment it feels tough in our Contact, Response and Force Support teams. Investigation Teams and Public Protection are also facing growing caseloads of increasing complexity.”
Official figures published in October showed crimes recorded by West Midlands Police rose by six per cent in the 12 months up to June 2016.
Figures released by the Office for National Statistics showed the number of sexual offences reported rose by 19%, while domestic burglary increased by 10%.
Jack Dromey, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Birmingham Erdington, said: “I welcome the Deputy Chief Constable’s intervention. She recognises that these are ‘tough’ times for policing and crime is on the rise after years of decline under Labour.
“The government say that they’ve reduced crime. This intervention shows how out of touch they are with our most senior police officers who are tackling the rise in crime everyday.”
The number of police officers employed by West Midlands Police fell from 8,626 in March 2010 to 6,880 in September 2016, according to Home Office figures.
Police numbers fell in Warwickshire from 973 to 853, in Staffordshire from 2,161 to 1,611 and in the West Mercia force area from 2,391 to 2,093.