Overall crime in Devon and Cornwall down but sex offences and violence on the rise (From Mid Devon Star)
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Overall crime in Devon and Cornwall down but sex offences and violence on the rise
1:54pm Thursday 17th October 2013 in News
Crime across Devon and Cornwall continues to fall according to new figures released today (17 October), however sex offences have risen by over nine per cent
Total recorded crime is down four per cent for the 12 months up to Sunday 13 October 2013.
Crime has fallen across many areas with substantial reductions in dwelling and non-dwelling burglary (both down 14.2% or 1,280 crimes overall), robbery, (down 12.8%), vehicle offences, (down 10.5%), and criminal damage, (down 11.0%).
Violence with injury is also down by more than three per cent and trafficking and possession of drugs is down by 0.6% and 8.3%, respectively.
However sex offences have risen by 9.2 per cent, public order offences have risen and violent crime is up over seven percent
Geographically, crime in Plymouth is down 3.8%, in Devon down 5.3% and in Cornwall down 1.8%.
Historic figures released by the Office of National Statistics today show a fall of six per cent per cent in crime across the Force area. These figures record crime up to the end of June 2013.
Devon and Cornwall Police has the 12th lowest crime in the country when compared to other forces. In March 2013 the Force was 13th.
Deputy Chief Constable David Zinzan said: “Devon and Cornwall Police are open and transparent around crime performance. The figures we release are ahead of the Office of National Statistics, which are three months behind ours.
“The most up-to-date figures released today show that Devon and Cornwall is continuing to reduce crime and the number of victims of crime.
“Any crime is one too many but in a Force area as vast as ours we have seen a reduction in burglaries with now eight burglaries a day across 850,000 homes being reported. And of the hundreds of thousands of vehicles in the region, we have 15 reports a day of a vehicle being damaged or stolen.
“We have 51 crimes per 1,000 of population, so we continue to be a safe place to live and work.”
“Importantly, we have continued to cut crime even after four years of cuts and additional savings of £7.5 million during this performance year.
“We saw excellent reductions during the performance year up until June when we faced with one of our busiest summer for years.
“Devon and Cornwall faces particular challenges in the summer, policing an influx of approximately 10 million more people with no additional resources. This is great news for businesses and our communities but it does put unprecedented demands on our service.
“Our Police and Crime Commissioner has made a commitment to keep police officer numbers above 3,000, but we are still 400 police officers, 414 police staff posts and £47 million lighter than three years ago.
“We have made great progress towards Police and Crime Commisioner Tony Hogg’s commitment to focus resources on the most vulnerable groups; this is evidenced by increased reporting of crimes such as domestic abuse and sexual offences.
“Our staff are working closer than ever with our communities to do a fantastic job in keeping them safe. It is a genuinely magnificent response by them to change the way in which they work to meet the new challenges they face on a very regular basis.
However, Mr Zinzan accepts there are challenges ahead in maintaining the reduction in crime and working with significantly less resources.
He added: “There is no doubt that nationally we are seeing an increase in some types of crime and Devon and Cornwall is no different. Areas like drink-related violence, antisocial behaviour and some sexual offences are a worry for many forces in the country.
“Although these figures show we are performing well, we are constantly analysing data and evolving the way in which we police to give the best service possible to the people of Devon and Cornwall.”
Crime recorded by the police is however falling at a faster rate than suggested by an independent survey.
Crime in England and Wales is measured in two main ways, there’s police recorded crime (PRC) and there’s the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW). PRC is based on crimes that have been reported to the police. The CSEW surveys a large nationally representative sample of the population and collects data on their experience of crime to find out what proportion is reported to the police. The two series have different coverage but can be compared using a basket of crimes that appear in both series and by focusing on those comparable crimes that the survey respondents say they have reported to the police.
The National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS) was introduced in April 2002 in order to bring greater consistency across police forces. It also introduced a victim-focused approach requiring the police record all crimes reported to them by victims unless there’s credible evidence that no crime has been committed. Prior to this, there was much more discretion and variability between forces in their crime recording practices.
Prior to the introduction of NCRS, the volume of police recorded crime was between 50% and 62% of the total estimated to be reported to the police from the comparable categories on the survey. Following the introduction of the NRCS, this rose to and remained close to 90% for a number of years. However, since 2006/07 there has been a growing gap between the level of crime recorded by the police and that found by survey of the general public.
Nationally the police recorded 3.7 million offences in the year ending June 2013, a decrease of 5 per cent compared with the previous year. This is the lowest comparative level since 2002/03 when the National Crime Recording Standard was introduced to bring greater consistency to crime recording.
ONS has recently examined why this growing gap is occurring in order to find an explanation. The data can’t tell us why the police appear to be recording a lower proportion of crime reported to them than in previous years. Although, one suggestion is that there has been gradual erosion of compliance by the police with the NCRS and ONS outlines some possible drivers, including possible perverse incentives associated with performance targets.
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