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Summer Crime Spike

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3:28pm 17th October 2013
(Updated 3:28pm 17th October 2013)

It looks like we are going to miss a target to cut crime in Cornwall and Devon by two percent.

Crime figures are out.

They show a summer spike put a big dent in drops in violence, robberies and burglaries.

Total recorded crime is down 4% for the Force area. The breakdown shows that it fell by 1.8 percent in Cornwall.

Historic figures released by the Office of National Statistics today though show a fall of 6% per cent in crime across the Force area. These figures record crime up to the end of June 2013.

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 Commissioner 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."


Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Hogg says he is concerned that Devon and Cornwall is losing the status as one of the safest areas in England and Wales.

It follows a statement by Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer that the force is very unlikely to hit a year-end target of reducing crime by 2%, a figure agreed with the Commissioner earlier this year.
 
The Commissioner has questioned Mr Sawyer in a series of performance meetings ahead of the publication of the ONS figures. They confirm that Devon and Cornwall has dropped down a league table of the safest forces. In June 2012, Devon and Cornwall was placed 8th, but is now down at 12th. Previously it had peaked at 4th. In part this is due to other forces reducing crime at a faster rate, and Mr Hogg says he is concerned about recent trends and the possibility that we will fall further in the coming months.  
 
Tony Hogg says: "As the public's representative it's my duty to highlight areas where performance can be improved. I am pleased that more serious crime figures are reducing, but it's important to also address the other issues which matter to people every day. I have protected officer numbers in Devon and Cornwall, and I will continue to hold the Chief Constable to account for the efficient and effective delivery of my Police and Crime Plan. He is well aware of my concerns."  
 
Dr Karen Vincent, OPCC Performance Manager says: "Analysis of crime trends in Devon & Cornwall suggests a complex interaction of issues including the large influx of summer visitors this year, reductions in the numbers of officers, an impact of financial hardship to individuals especially in already deprived areas, and increased confidence in the public to come forward to report some of the more sensitive offence types including sexual and domestic abuse. The challenge going forwards is to identify the most effective ways to address these issues in collaboration with our partners."
 
One of the roles of the Police and Crime Commissioner is holding the Chief Constable to account over the performance of the Force. You can see their filmed performance interview, concentrating on crime figures, below.

3:28pm 17th October 2013

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