Police should be arresting more criminals, says senior officer

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Police should make arresting violent criminals and thieves a top priority and stop devoting resources to logging incidents such as hate crimes, a Chief Constable has said.

Former Thames Valley boss Sara Thornton said forces are too hard-pressed to spend time on issues such as hate crime and allegations against dead people.

Ms Thornton is chair of the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC), which represents chief constables of 43 English and Welsh forces.

She told a summit of the NPCC and Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) that they should tackle “today’s crime today” and focus on “core policing.”

Forces do not have the resources to log gender-based hate allegations or historic claims against people who had subsequently died, she added.

Ms Thornton also told the Westminster conference: “Neither investigating gender-based hate crime or allegations against those who have died are necessarily bad things.

“I just argue that they cannot be priorities for a service that is over-stretched.

“We are asked to provide more and more bespoke services that are all desirable, but the simple fact is there are too many desirable and deserving issues.”

She referred to Home Office figures published last week that showed arrests had plummeted by 50 per cent in ten years and a study examining the extension of hate crimes to age and gender abuse.

Ms Thornton said treating misogyny as a hate crime is a concern for “some well-organised campaigning organisations.”

But she added that English and Welsh forces no longer have the resources to do everything after years of government cutbacks.

She said: “I want us to solve more burglaries and bear down on violence before we make more records of incidents that are not crimes.”

Funding for police forces in England and Wales has fallen by almost 20 per cent in real terms in the past eight years, senior officers claim, leaving them with 20,000 fewer officers.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid admitted to the conference audience that forces were stretched and pledged that this would be addressed when the 2019-2020 settlement is announced in December.

Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott also addressed the conference and criticised the years of Government cuts that had reduced police numbers, saying forces could not do more with less.

She insisted that if misogyny is made a hate crime government should provide the money to investigate it and that forces should not have to “pick and choose” between crimes.

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