Burglary and violent crime is rising in some parts of the country because of the swingeing cuts in police numbers, a police chief has warned.
The nationwide bill for police overtime was Â£412 million a year
Acting Chief Constable Chris Weigh of the Lancashire force said the loss of front line officers had resulted in an â€œinevitableâ€ increase in the number of offences being committed.
It is the first time a chief police officer has attributed a spike in crime statistics to budgetary pressures and will increase calls for the Government to rethink its plans for a 20 per cent cut in police funding.
Mr Weigh, whose force has lost 500 officers so far, said there had been a â€œsignificantâ€ rise in certain crimes including house burglary which was up 8.4 per cent and violent crime which was up 5.4 per cent in April compared to the same time last year.
He also suggested that the recession was leading to an increase in certain crimes such as shoplifting for food.
Mr Weigh stressed that while overall crime across the country remained at â€œhistoricallyâ€ low levels, the upward trend in some offences was a real cause for concern.
Addressing a meeting of the Lancashire Police Authority Mr Weigh said: â€œWe are taking 513 police officers off the streets. Targeting capabilities have been hit â€¦ there is a genuine real increase in offending.â€
His comments came as former Met Commissioner Lord Blair warned that the Government’s plans could damage the nature of policing and reduce crime prevention work.
Shadow Policing Minister, David Hanson, said: â€œIt is truly shocking that a senior police officer is saying that the Tory led Governmentâ€™s police cuts are causing some crimes to rise.â€
He added: â€œTheresa May and David Cameron were warned they were taking a massive risk with public safety and now we are seeing the results. They need to be focused on cutting crime rather than just cutting the police.â€
But a Home Office spokesman said: â€œThe quality and effectiveness of policing is not only about numbers â€“ it is about how well they are deployed. Her Majestyâ€™s Inspectorate of Constabulary have made it clear there is no simple link between the number of front line officers and crime levels.â€
Cut in police numbers has contributed to rise in crime, police chief warns