The Government has scrapped controversial deep police funding cuts - as we reveal massive increases in crimes such as burglary and assault across Hyndburn.
The number of assaults in the borough increased by 109 per cent to 1,892 in a 12-month period, the figures produced by a Freedom of Information request reveal. And the number of burglaries taking place in the Accrington policing divisions also rose sharply to 1,201 - up 81pc on the same period in 2013/14.
The worrying figures come after the Chancellor George Osborne performed a U-turn on proposals to slash police budgets in Wednesday’s Autumn statement.
Mr Osborne, who also hiked counter terrorism budgets, has opted to freeze police funding, in a move welcomed as ‘a victory for Lancashire’.
He told the Commons: “Now is not the time for further police cuts. Now is the time to back our police and give them the tools to do the job.”
In the build up to his announcement, Hyndburn council voted to write to the government over fears that the number of police officers in Hyndburn could be slashed by around a half to 49.
Hyndburn MP Graham Jones said it was “only a matter of time” before crime rose.
He said: “For years the Tories have boasted that cutting police budgets has had no effect on crime. Everyone knows that to be false.”
Tom Dunne, chairman of the Milnshaw Residents Association, said there are already concerns over police numbers.
He said: “We never see police round here anymore. If the police just drove past twice a day at random times it would make us feel safer. Most of the people in the area are old, and we get frightened.”
But Chief Inspector Sheena Tattum, of East Division, believes victims are more confident to report crime. She said: “While there has been an increase in certain crimes in parts of Accrington we are now finding that more people are willing to come forward and report what has happened.”<p/>
Police U-turn victory hailed
Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner has welcomed the Government’s decision to freeze police budgets, reached partly as a result of the campaign mounted by Lancashire residents to stop the cuts.
Lancashire Police were braced for budget cuts of up to £24 million on top of savings of £74 million they had already made from their budgets in the last five years.
Police Commissioner Clive Grunshaw said: “Together local residents, our officers, staff and local politicians stood up and we said we could not take any more cuts and now it appears the Government has listened to the case we put forward.
“First they had to halt the funding formula review after I and other Commissioners raised issues with their basic maths, and now they have conceded and agreed with our argument that now is not the time to cut our police.
“It is a great victory for Lancashire and a victory for common sense.”
But the Commissioner warned that because the budgets were protected we would not see an increase in services and it was not the end of austerity.
He said: “We haven’t seen the end of the assault on police budgets by any means, but we have a reprieve.”
Conservative group leader Tony Dobson was delighted with the Chancellor’s change of heart.
He said: “We sent two motions from the council last week that have been taken on board by the Government. I’m absolutely delighted they have taken notice of responses right across the country.”
Hyndburn MP Graham Jones said: “We are going to see a reduction in the police cuts this year and this is following the Paris attacks because we have to protect the public.
“They have done a U-turn.
“They can’t afford to cut following the attacks with the views of the public.”