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Cuts 'could encourage criminality'

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A new report by leading think-tank Civitas has warned that the public could face a higher risk of crime because of Government cuts decreasing the number of police officers.

The more people perceive crime to be on the increase, the more likely they are to seek out the best deal on home insurance to protect their property.

The Civitas report, based on a study conducted by economist Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay, says that sudden police cuts could "encourage criminals to commit more crime".

The higher detection rates by police lead to a fall in crime, Dr Bandyopadhyay said, but warned that the Government's announced 20% cut to police resources puts this check on criminality at risk.

Dr Bandyopadhyay said: "The perception that police are stretched may encourage criminals to commit more crime which would indeed stretch the police."

According to figures, a modest one percentage point increase in detection rates leads to 22,500 fewer theft and handling and 6,000 fewer burglaries, while violent offences are down 2,300.

Dr Bandyopadhyay said: "Improved detection rates not only have a direct impact by reducing current crime; they also lower future crime."

The study was based on data from the 43 forces across England and Wales between 1992 and 2008.

© Press Association 2011