Page last updated at 13:24 GMT, Friday, 4 July 2008 14:24 UK

Cost of crime '275 per person'

Police tape
The Taxpayers' Alliance produced a league table of the cost of crime

Funding the police to tackle recorded crime costs 275 per person a year, according to a lobby group report.

The Taxpayers' Alliance put the cost at 15bn annually for forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The campaign group, which used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain crime data from the police, called for red tape and targets to be reduced.

The Home Office said it was continuing to develop new ways to reduce crime and therefore its cost to taxpayers.

Matthew Sinclair, of the Taxpayers' Alliance which campaigns for a low-tax economy, said: "Every one of us pays a steep price for high crime rates, particularly those living in urban areas.

The problem is that politicians in Whitehall insist on micro-managing the police
Matthew Sinclair
Taxpayers' Alliance

"Whether we have been victims of crime, are afraid to go out at night or are just paying ever more to protect and insure ourselves and our property, crime has significant economic, emotional and social costs for us all."

He added: "The problem is that politicians in Whitehall insist on micro-managing the police.

"If the government give people the information and the power to tailor their local police force to their local needs, we will be able to drive crime levels down and improve the lives of millions.

Shadow home secretary Dominic Grieve said the Cost of Crime report provided a "stark illustration of the cost of Labour's failure on crime".

1. Nottinghamshire 389 (Disputed by force)
2. Metropolitan Police 387
3. Humberside 379
4. Greater Manchester 372
5. Derbyshire 365
Figures per person per year.
Source: Taxpayers' Alliance

"It confirms what we have been saying for some time, that we need urgent action to slash unnecessary paperwork to get officers back on the streets, as well as action to restore local accountability in policing," he said.

The Home Office's own figures put the cost of all crime at 60bn a year.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: "Estimates of the current costs of crime - like the Taxpayers' Alliance estimates - serve to recognise that there is a continuing cost associated with crime, and a need to seek new ways to reduce it.

"That is why the Home Office, other departments and agencies continue to develop new crime reduction strategies, targets and policies.

"Crime recorded by the police has fallen by 12% compared with the same quarter last year and British Crime Survey data, which reflects people's overall experience of crime, shows a 6% fall."

Nottinghamshire was named as the costliest force, but it said it had given the Taxpayers' Alliance the wrong figures and should be in eighth place.

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