Region's crime rate seized on by Labour
RISING crime in Devon and Cornwall has been highlighted at Westminster as Government cuts to police funding were given the go-ahead.
Labour also seized on comments by the force's Conservative police and Crime commissioner Tony Hogg, who has said taking the Government's offer of freezing council tax in exchange for a one per cent increase in grant, would leave the force facing a "fiscal cliff" in two years' time and an annual shortfall of £1.8 million. He went on to propose and get the green light for a two per cent increase in the police part of the council tax.
Under the budget package approved by Parliament, Whitehall funding to the police will be cut by 1.9 per cent in the coming year.
Home Office Minister Jeremy Browne told MPs "can and must" take their fair share of the Government's austerity measures.
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He added: "We have sought to protect the police as far as possible."
But in opposing the cuts, Labour pointed to the increase in crime in Devon and Cornwall.
Latest figures released by the Office for National Statistics revealed for the year up to September 2012, offences in the two counties had risen by five per cent to 90,376 – the highest rate of any of the 43 forces in England and Wales.
It was one of only two forces nationally to suffer a rise in crime in the 12 months to September, the other being Wiltshire.
It followed a six per cent rise in crime in Devon and Cornwall in 2011-12, which was double the rate of any other police force area.