4 April 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Police taking up to 28 hours to attend burglaries
  • Sharp decline in STEM teacher numbers
  • Scottish Liberal Democrats respond to Loch Lomond Highland Games cancellation

Police taking up to 28 hours to attend burglaries

Average burglary response times have increased by a shocking 25% in just one year, with some forces taking an average of 28 hours for an officer to arrive at the scene, damning figures uncovered by the Liberal Democrats have revealed.

The figures were obtained through a series of Freedom of Information requests to all police forces in England. 26 forces provided responses.

Burglaries are often considered as Grade 2 priority incidents, which most police forces aim to respond to within one hour. The College of Policing defines these as “incidents where a witness or other evidence is likely to be lost”, and “a degree of urgency is still associated with immediate police action.”

But in the 2022/23 financial year, it took an average of 9 hours and 8 minutes across police forces for an officer to turn up to the scene when a burglary was reported. This is an increase of 25% from the previous year, when average wait times across police forces stood at 7 hours and 17 minutes. 20 of the 26 police forces reported longer wait times in 2022/23, compared to 2021/22.

When compared to figures from 2020/21, the deterioration in wait times was even more stark. 11 forces saw their burglary response times more than double in that time period. South Yorkshire experienced the largest deterioration in wait times, which increased by a shocking 443% – up from 2 hours and 21 minutes in 2020/21, to 12 hours and 47 minutes in 2022/23.

The figures also revealed a disturbing postcode lottery, with response times varying significantly depending on the police force. The worst performing force was Northamptonshire, with a staggering average response time of 28 hours and 2 minutes for burglary calls. They were followed closely behind by Durham, where victims were left waiting nearly 26 hours for an officer to arrive. Meanwhile, average response times in Bedfordshire were nearly 15 minutes, while Cumbria response times sat at just a little over one hour.

It comes just months after the latest Home Office statistics revealed that 3 in 4 burglaries went unsolved in the year ending September 2023.

The Liberal Democrats have slammed the Conservative Government for these figures, arguing that years of ineffective resourcing have left local police forces overstretched, under-resourced and unable to effectively respond to local crime. This includes taking more than 4,500 community officers (PCSOs) off the streets since 2015.

The party is calling for a return to proper community policing, where officers are visible and trusted, with the time and resources to focus on tackling neighbourhood crime like burglaries.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP said:

When someone has been the victim of a burglary, they deserve a swift response from the police. Yet thanks to the Conservatives, this is increasingly out of reach.

Years of ineffective resourcing of local police forces by Conservative ministers mean that all too often, the basics of stopping and solving crime are missed.

The fact that traumatised burglary victims are being left waiting for hours, wondering if the police will even arrive, is unacceptable. To think that crucial evidence may be lost in the process too is unforgivable.

The British public deserves so much better than this. It’s time to finally restore proper community policing, so people can be confident that if they do fall victim to crime, the police will turn up and investigate properly.

Sharp decline in STEM teacher numbers

Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Willie Rennie MSP has today urged ministers to repair the crisis in STEM teaching as new figures revealed that there has been a sharp decline in the number of Maths, Physics, Computing and Technical Education teachers since the SNP came to power.

Supplementary Statistics for Schools, produced by the Scottish Government and analysed by the Scottish Liberal Democrats, reveal that:

  • The number of Computing Studies teachers in secondary schools has fallen from 766 in 2008 to 578 in 2023- a 25% decrease and the lowest level since these records began.
  • The number of Maths teachers in secondary schools has fallen from 2,787 in 2008 to 2,456 in 2023- a 12% decrease.
  • The number of Technical Education teachers in secondary schools has fallen from 1,345 in 2008 to 1,192 in 2023- an 11% decrease and the lowest level since these records began.
  • The number of Physics teachers in secondary schools has fallen from 887 in 2008 to 814 in 2023- an 8% decrease.

Mr Rennie said:

It’s extremely troubling to see such a sharp decline in STEM subject teachers.

These subjects open the doors to industries of the future but with so few teachers now specialising in them and no sign of action to encourage more teachers into the workforce, the SNP are creating a vicious cycle that diminishes the skills of future generations and undermines teacher recruitment for years to come.

Scottish Liberal Democrats want to end this crisis, and that’s why we would bring back principal teachers for every STEM subject, giving young people better access to these subjects, and guarantee teachers stable contracts they can depend on.

Scottish Liberal Democrats respond to Loch Lomond Highland Games cancellation

Responding to the news that the Loch Lomond Highland Games have been cancelled after the local authority had to withdraw funding to close a £17m budget shortfall, Scottish Liberal Democrat culture and sport spokesperson Neil Alexander said:

After slashing council funding for years, the SNP have forced those like West Dunbartonshire to make tough decisions that cut deep into the heart of communities and the local economy.

The SNP have always loved to masquerade as ambassadors of Scottish culture, but the nationalists do virtually nothing to support it when it comes to the crunch.

Unlike the SNP, Scottish Liberal Democrats will strengthen and protect local government budgets and ensure that communities in every corner of the country can thrive.

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This entry was posted in News, Press releases and Scotland.
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2 Comments

  • Mary Fulton 4th Apr '24 - 10:49pm

    Willie Rennie raises an important point about the decline in particular subject specialist teachers in secondary education…but is he willing to argue for the obvious solution to the problem? The recent statistics show that uptake of training places for most subjects taught in Scottish secondary schools were less than available places while, yet again, there were far more applicants for primary sector training places. If let to market forces, the wages of secondary teachers would rise relative to primary sector colleagues – but this does not happen because the EIS (which has more primary than secondary members) insists on a common pay scale for both sectors. Can we rely on Willie Rennie to argue that the common pay scale should end to let each sector have wages that attract the workforce that each sector requires?

  • Steve Trevethan 5th Apr '24 - 10:10am

    Might the decline in particular subject specialist teachers be rooted in the inevitable consequences of neoliberal economics, aka austerity?

    1) Deliberate constriction of monies needed for efficient, and, therefore, effective infrastructures?

    2) Limitations on the vital resource of economically robust, post tertiary education people?
    Might neoliberal economics be obsessed with more money for the few rather than increasing the size and depth of national human resources?
    Might the charging of students, plus interest, for tertiary education be one of the most harmful of neoliberal practices?

    2) Failure to recognise that, as we have a sovereign currency, H. M. G. can, should and does create money and so is not solely reliant upon taxation payments and does not owe such created money to anyone? [Wealth/health warnings and precautions, of course, apply!]

    3) Deliberate inefficient, inequalities and obscurities in taxation?
    https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2024/04/05/the-launch-of-the-taxing-wealth-report-2024/

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