By Dan Santy 30/05 Updated: 05/06 10:26
ONE of the people bidding to be Warwickshire' first police commissioner has voiced concerns over the number of burglaries in Rugby.
Former Warwick and Leamington Labour MP James Plaskitt said the cuts to policing had 'gone too far' and pointed to the spike in burglaries as evidence.
It comes after the Observer last year revealed how burglaries from homes in the borough shot up at the same time specialist burglary detectives were moved from Rugby to Nuneaton because of huge police budget cuts.
Mr Plaskitt said the figures showed burglaries from both homes and non-domestic properties jumped by 20 per cent between April 2011 and March this year.
He said: "We are looking at rising crime and falling police numbers. The priorities are wrong.
"The government’s deep cuts to policing mean we are all paying by suffering rising crime. The leap in burglary in Rugby is especially worrying."
Mr Plaskitt is in the running to be Warwickshire's first police commissioner, which will replace the police authority as the political overseers of law and order in the county, with the power to hire and fire chief constables, manage the budget and set policing priorities.
People will be asked on November 15 to vote for their preferred candidate for the job, with Mr Plaskitt standing against rival Labour candidate, Rugby borough councillor Claire Edwards.
The figures he referred to showed burglary from homes in Rugby rose from 376 in the previous year to 453 last year, while for non-domestic buildings it jumped from 510 to 619.
Overall crime however stayed around the same, rising from 5,914 to 5,940 - an increase of less than half a per cent.
There were also 3,800 incidents of anti-social behaviour recorded in Rugby last year.
Mr Plaskitt said: "The police are doing the best they can, but across Rugby neighbourhood policing is being carried out by 31 officers, and the rise in crime levels suggests the thin blue line is now just too thin."
"Warwickshire’s policing cuts are the biggest outside London and there is no justification for that. I believe the commissioner must put community priorities first. We need to cut crime, not police.
"Because of the government’s deep cuts we are down by over 200 officers across the county and the force is too stretched. Rugby residents should not have to put up with rising crime."
Mr Plaskitt also suggested Warwickshire - the country's smallest force - should have new joint working arrangements with Coventry's West Mercia Police to help it cope with the difficulties of a vastly reduced budget.
A LORRY driver was killed in a smash
THE NUMBER of people killed or seriously injured
THE FAMOUS Inca city of Machu Picchu awaits
A DOUBLE decker bus crashed into a front
POLICE have sealed off an area of grassland off Upper ...
A ROGUE trader conned a 90-year-old dementia sufferer out of ...
ARTIST Damien Isaak has swapped his brush for the pen. ...