Victims of vehicle crimes and shoplifting cases worth less than £100 in Bedfordshire may not get a visit from police in future.

The drastic move is being contemplated as senior officers struggle to cope with budget cuts.

Kathryn Holloway, the county’s police and crime commissioner, told the Home Affairs Select Committee the force was reviewing what it was “not able to do”.

Her warning came after Britain’s biggest force admitted it will stop investigating low level crimes – including burglary and minor assaults – to save money.  

Faced with a rise in violent crime and massive budget cuts, the Metropolitan Police says it will focus on more serious crime.

London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan told MPs the situation was so bad, the Met has now reached a “tipping point in relation to our ability to keep our city safe”.

Ms Holloway acknowledged any move to stop attending low level crimes might encourage criminals in Bedfordshire.

She told MPs: “Two examples that have been suggested are that we would not be attending vehicle crime. 

“I suppose there could be an argument that people are insured and shouldn’t be leaving valuables in cars, vans and so on.

“However, it’s also been suggested that we wouldn’t be going to retail thefts of £100 and under.”

But she added: “I have no appetite whatsoever as the PCC for Bedfordshire in seeing my county become the retail theft capital for the UK.”

She told the committee the force has made nearly £35 million in cuts. 

It faces a further reduction of £11.4 million to £12.5 million in the next four years “if things remain unchanged”.

According the Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, Bedfordshire was rated “inadequate” in an effectiveness survey in 2016.

The Met has already saved £600 million and estimate they will have to find another £400 million in savings by 2020.

Mayor Khan told MPs: “It’s not conceivable that there is not going to be impact on the safety of Londoners.” 

The debate over police resources has been played out in public as ministers prepare to unveil the latest cash settlement for forces.

Cash-strapped forces fear they will not be able to cope with rising violent crime and an unprecedented terrorist threat.

They want a massive funding increase not more cuts.

But the message from the Home Office has been uncompromising. 

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has urged force leaders to focus on cutting crime instead of lobbying for more money.

Daily Express


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