TOTAL crime in the West Midlands has risen by 14 per cent as the Police and Crime Commissioner calls for an increase in council tax to keep police officers on the streets.
The Office of National Statistics figures show crime is increasing nationally and regionally.
Elsewhere in the region; Warwickshire’s total recorded crime jumped by 23 per cent in the last year, Staffordshire by 13 per cent and West Mercia 13 per cent.
The Solihull Partnership, in conjunction with West Midlands Police, reported on Wednesday that recorded crime has risen once again in the last quarter of 2017/18 by 17 per cent.
Total recorded crime rose to 221,774 in the West Midlands during the year to September last year.
Murder showed a worrying rise in the West Midlands, as the third highest region in the UK with 44 homicides in the last year – representing a 33 per cent rise.
In a year that David Jamieson, the West Midlands PCC, injected resources into tackling gang crime and violence, as well as focusing on reducing drug offences, the force was more successful in addressing drug offences – they fell by 22 per cent.
But the year has also seen a rise in robbery (27 per cent), sexual offences (23 per cent) and vehicle offences (32 per cent).
The PCC says he is no doubt that the rise in crime is linked to ‘real-term cuts’ and has launched a consultation into raising council tax by £1 a month.
His office has shown the West Midlands Police precept is the second lowest in the country at just £116.55 per annum (for a Band D council taxpayer) compared to the highest of £224.57 in Surrey.
If the police precept is frozen at its current levels, West Midlands Police will lose out on approximately £9.5 million per annum and this could result in the loss of over 190 police officers.
Mr Jamieson said: “These figures highlight the short-sighted approach of the government by continuing to apply real-terms cuts to police forces’ funding at a time when the pressures on policing are increasing.
“Just to standstill West Midlands Police requires an extra £22 million a year.
“As the funding West Midlands Police receives from the government is going down in real-terms, I have been left with no other option than to consider increasing the council tax precept for policing by £12 a year for a Band D property.
“Money raised from council tax will go directly on protecting officer numbers, and investing in neighbourhood policing to reduce crime.
“Officers at the force work around the clock to prevent and catch those who decide to commit crimes and they are facing ever greater demands from an increasing threat of terror, levels of cyber-crime and a rise in the number of reported sex offences.
“The West Midlands Police has lost £145 million from central government since 2010. Despite being a highly efficient force, we have still lost 2,000 officers since 2010, meaning we are having to do more with fewer resources.”