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Sharp spike in public attacks: Police chief blames funding cuts

Violence in public places across the West Midlands has increased by almost 11 per cent over the past year, the Police and Crime Commissioner's annual report has revealed.

Sharp spike in public attacks: Police chief blames funding cuts

According to the report, the overall offending level has also increased over the past 12 months.

The number of street attacks and other assaults in public places raised by nearly 11 per cent when compared to 2013/14 to - a total of 1,048 offences.

David Jamieson, Police and Crime commissioner for the West Midlands, said the report was about him being honest and highlighting where his force needs to improve.

He said the rise in certain crimes could be down to the force having its funding and staffing cut.

He said: "These figures are clear that crime is changing not falling and the Home Secretary therefore needs to make sure that West Midlands Police has a fair funding deal.

"West Midlands Police has lost 23 per cent of its funding compared to 12 per cent in Surrey over the last five years, which simply isn't fair or logical.

"West Midlands Police continues to outperform other similar urban forces and we have high levels of public satisfaction, but reports like this are about me being honest with the public and highlighting where we have performed well and where we could improve."

Wolverhampton councillor Phil Bateman, who represents the Wednesbury North Ward, admitted these statistics were a concern but that it was the government's problem as much as the Police and Crime Commissioner's.

He said: "I think we're always concerned and certainly the public are very concerned about violence. Whether its in their neighbourhood or in a public place, it effects people's confidence.

"I think it is a major concern for us that the government is not providing more money for dealing with crimes like this.

"It is the government's responsibility as much as the crime and commissioner's. They need to realise that this problem cannot be solved from behind a computer, we need more police officers and PCSOs on the street.

"Certainly in my ward, people are very concerned that soon police levels will be at their lowest since the force started in 1974."

The report also stated that West Midlands Police were hoping to achieve 'the lowest ever crime levels in the West Midlands' over the last 12 months.

But the report admitted: "During the year there was, in fact, a higher level of offending recorded than in 2013-14, up just over one per cent."

However it goes on to explain that the reason for this increase was because of more reporting 'from vulnerable victims, such as those subject to domestic abuse, hate crime and sexual exploitation'.

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