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Police at risk of becoming “irrelevant” as neighbourhood presences are stripped back due to Tory cuts, MPs warn

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Police are at risk of becoming “irrelevant” as neighbourhood presences are stripped back due to Tory cuts, MPs warn today.

Forces are “struggling to cope” with rising levels of crime, especially online, the Commons Home Affairs Committee said in a report.

It said of bobbies on the beat: “It is absolutely vital that this cornerstone of British policing is reaffirmed throughout the country, to ensure that trust and legitimacy is maintained.

“This is particularly important in communities in which distrust of the police is rife.”

Few online fraud cases are ever investigated, forces are “woefully under-resourced” to tackle online child sex abuse and adoption of new technology is a “complete and utter mess”, the report added.

Forces are “struggling to cope” with rising levels of crime, especially online, the Commons Home Affairs Committee said in a report

It said while recorded crime rose by 32% in three years, charges or summonses fell by 26%.

Data suggests forces have lost at least a fifth of their neighbourhood policing capacity on average since 2010.

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Brexit crunch week

Labour MP Yvette Cooper, who chairs the committee, said: “Forces are badly overstretched. Policing urgently needs more money.”

It comes as Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy warned forces could go bankrupt after her force was told by the Treasury to pay out an extra £11million a year in employer pension contributions.

Ms Kennedy said: “To say that it is horrific is fair. The government have to step up and assist.”

Last week neighbouring Cheshire Constabulary revealed they will have to axe 250 officers due to dwindling financial resources.

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