Page last updated at 12:44 GMT, Monday, 12 January 2009

Domestic abuse fear with downturn

Chief Constable Paul West
The chief constable said domestic abuse could increase

The economic downturn could result in a rise in domestic abuse, a chief constable has warned.

Paul West, head of West Mercia Police, said job losses could lead to "increased tension at home".

Mr West, who was speaking during a visit to Ludlow, Shropshire, said his force's budget would also be hit but he did not expect jobs to be lost.

He said he also did not expect the downturn to lead to more thefts as the root cause of this was drug-addiction.

The force employs 4,500 officers and staff and covers Shropshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

'Very carefully'

Mr West said: "Increased tension at home will have the potential for increased domestic abuse.

"My own guess is that this is where we are more likely to see an impact on calls for our service."

Mr West said the force would look "very carefully" at its budget but said it had taken care of its finances in the past.

He added: "As a result, at this stage we are not looking at job losses but the current situation is causing us to look very carefully at how we use the funding available to us."

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