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Police Grant Report | Commons debates

The hon. Gentleman makes the reasonable point that criminals do not respect borders. Indeed, in the modern age they do not respect physical borders at all. Most crime now is online—fraud that the Government do not even recognise as a proper crime, even though millions of people are defrauded of their savings every year.

The sad truth is that the public have come to expect less from the police since 2010, and that is a big part of the declining trust in policing. Twice as many people as in 2010 say they never see police on the streets. Thousands walk away from court cases, either because of how they have been treated or because of the long waiting times involved in bringing cases to court. It is absolutely true that overall crime levels are falling long term, but 72% of people think that crime has gone up nationally and 42% think it has gone up in their local area. Millions fail to report crime because they have given up on any sense of anything happening about it.

Poorer areas are seven times more likely than wealthier areas to be affected by high rates of antisocial behaviour. Some 1.1 million incidents of antisocial behaviour were reported to the police in the year to September 2022—more than 21,000 incidents a week or 3,000 incidents every day. Those are the reported incidents; we know that the actual numbers are much higher. Over 10% of people have witnessed drug dealing or drug use. Those on the Government Benches see antisocial behaviour as a low-level crime, but Labour takes it seriously.

We saw today in the papers that just four scam texters have been prosecuted for fraud in the last year, despite the estimated 45 million people who receive them. Four prosecutions in a year, the lowest on record—a pathetic level of enforcement. When will the Government get a grip and stop allowing fraudsters to get away?

Neighbourhood policing has been decimated. Some 6,000 neighbourhood police officers have been cut since 2015 and 8,500 PCSOs since 2010. The Conservatives have got rid of thousands of police staff, vetting officers, staff detectives, call handlers and data analysts. The police are having to pick up the pieces where other services fail. When ambulances or mental health teams do not turn up because of the Tories’ NHS crisis, the police step in. In one force, mental health-related calls are up by over 450% since 2010 because there is simply no one else to pick up the pieces. That leaves fewer officers to deal with burglary or knife crime and all the other crimes that people care about but get no response to.