Richard Bingley has blamed the findings on Conservative Party cuts
Evidence from a study published by the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) and University of Nottingham finds that “single-crewing”, where officers are forced to walk their beat alone, is putting safety at risk because they are more likely to be targeted and put at risk of violence.
The study called “Single Crewing in English and Welsh Policing: Frequency and Associations with Violence Towards and Injuries in Officers” found officers who were often, or always single crewed had “significantly elevated odds” of being subjected to verbal insults, threats, physical attacks and injuries requiring medical attention.
Ukip’s Shadow Home Affairs spokesperson Richard Bingley has blamed the findings on Conservative Party cuts.
He said: “Single-crewing has the effect that police officers are isolated and exposed to unacceptable levels of personal risk in many potentially hazardous situations.
“In many lone scenarios, it is often physically impossible for officers to radio for backup. For example, if they are under attack or attempting to verbally pacify a potentially violent individual or group.
“Ultimately, officers feel safer patrolling in pairs. By policing in pairs, they are far more likely to be more assertive, intrusive and confident to stop an unlawful behaviour. This means our High Streets and road networks would be safer.
“This total disregard for police safety is yet another sign that UK police officers have been abandoned by Conservatives in Parliament.”
The study found 73 per cent of the 11,397 officers from 43 territorial forces surveyed said they were single crewed often or always in the preceding 12-month period.
It also found 71 per have been verbally insulted, 55 per cent verbally threatened and 44 per cent the victim of an unarmed physical attack at least once per month in the same period.
There were 47 per cent who reported having been attacked with a weapon at least once within the last year and 26 per cent have suffered one or more injuries that required medical attention because of violence.
He also claims that Ukip would use some of the funds currently being spent on EU membership on hiring more police officers.
He added: “Just a fraction of our annual fees to Brussels would pay to reinstate all 22,000 police officers cut by Conservative MPs since 2010, as well as fund safer working practices.”
The Police Federation for England and Wales lead on operational policing Simon Kempton said the main concern is single-crewing means there is a much bigger risk of officers being put in physical danger.
He blamed the increase in single-crewing on budget cuts and said this will affect the quality of policing because it may mean single-crewed officers are less likely to challenge wrong-doing and more susceptible to false complaints.
Mr Kempton said: “An officer on their own is more likely to have to resort to a greater level of force to resolve an issue where a double crewed team might be able to use simple arm holds for example.
“It is less likely that a single crewed officer will stop a suspicious vehicle full of suspects in a remote location at night because of the risk to them. And this then affects the service we can provide to the public we serve, meaning only the criminals benefit.
According to the Home Office the number of people joining police forces as officers has increased
“Single crewed officers, until Body Worn Video is issued to all, are more susceptible to false complaints or allegations from those who would lie about the police in order to deflect from their own behaviour or because of simple malice.”
But according to Home Office figures the number of people joining police forces as officers has increased by 58 per cent since 2015/16.
It should also be noted that there are more police officers in the UK than there has ever been before, even proportionately to the size of the population.
Most decisions about frontline policing, such as how resources are best deployed, are for Chief Constables and democratically accountable Police and Crime Commissioners.
There are more police today than there ever has been
A Home Office spokesperson said: “The independent Office for National Statistics is clear that overall traditional crime is continuing to fall and is now down by almost 40 per cent since 2010.
“We are satisfied that the police have the resources they need to do their important work and we have set out a comprehensive settlement to strengthen local and national policing, which will mean police funding will increase by up to £450million next year.
“This includes enabling PCCs to increase police force budgets by up to £270million so individual forces have the resources they need to respond to changes in demand.
“We are clear that effective local policing needs to be about more than just visibility in isolation. With crime increasingly taking place behind closed doors and online, it is also about engaging with the community, safeguarding vulnerable groups or individuals and giving the police the powers they need to deal with emerging and hidden crimes.”individuals and giving the police the powers they need to deal with emerging and hidden crimes.”