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Every single type of crime rises in Cornwall and Devon

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Published by Emma Carton at 7:21am 11th February 2019. (Updated at 9:54am 11th February 2019)

By Local Democracy Reporter, Daniel Clark

Every single type of crime has increased in Devon and Cornwall, but crime rates in the two counties still remain way below the national average.

The Police and Crime Panel on Friday morning were given a report by Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez on her 'Safe, Resilient and Connected Communities' Police and Crime Plan.

The update revealed that there is still concern about the number of victims being repeatedly abused and the percentage of the public who think the police do an excellent job, but that the other nine measures used to measure performance are being met.

The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics, for the 12 months until June 30, 2018, revealed that total crime increased by 17%, but that the force area has the sixth lowest rate of crime in England and Wales.

Reported crime is 30% higher in the summer months compared to the winter months, and Devon and Cornwall has a higher proportion of violent crime and a lower proportion of theft offences compared with the England and Wales average.

Every single type of crime has been an increase in the number of incidents reported but the crime rate in Devon and Cornwall remain below England and Wales for all offences.

What are the crime trends?

  1. Violence with Injury has risen by 18%. The report says that the majority of the increase is related to crime recording improvements, however there may be some genuine increases. Knife crime has increased by 13%, however this is a rare crime type and Devon and Cornwall has one of the lowest rates nationally
  2. Violence without Injury has risen by 40%, but the report says that more reporting of stalking and harassments offences account for a large part of the increase and that more domestic abuse incident are being recorded as crime
  3. Sexual offences have risen by 19%, but the report says that this is down to more offences being reported and some reporting of historical offences
  4. Thefts have risen by 6%, split between a 15% in vehicle offences, but there has been a drop of 6% in shoplifting and four per cent in burglaries
  5. Robbery offences have risen by 9%, but the rate of offences taking place is a quarter of the national rate
  6. Criminal damage and arson offences have risen by 4% but are still at a lower proportion that the national average
  7. Public order offences have risen by 33%, but the report says that this is because many instances of anti-social behaviour are recorded as public order offences
  8. Possession of weapons offences are up by 27%, with the rise put down to more proactive policing and an increase possession and use of knives
  9. Drug offences have risen by 13%, a result of proactive effort to crack down on drug trafficking
  10. Other offences have risen by 30%

Friday's meeting heard that number of people who think that the police are doing an excellent job had risen slightly to 62%, based on the latest figures from September 2018, from 60%, although is still below the national average of 68%.

A report to the Panel said that Ms Hernandez has already commenced additional scrutiny in this area to determine what if any action needs to be taken.

It adds that a quarter of victims of crime, both people and organisations, have also reported at least one offence in the previous 12 months, and that the Devon and Cornwall Police Victim Strategic Group are looking into the matter and what action is being taken to support repeat victims and future plans.

The report also added that 79% of people had confidence in Devon and Cornwall Police when 'taking everything into account', 74% of priority victims are satisfied with their overall experience with the police, 91% of 999 calls are answered within 10 seconds, 96% of 101 emails are responded to within 24 hours and that in monetary terms, the Police staff cost per head of population is £3.90 less per head of population compared with the national average and the officer cost per head of population is £3.00 less per head of population compared with the national average.

Ms Hernandez added that she wanted to improve on all of the performance measures but the concerns that were being reported in some areas and that crime was rising was partly why she was determined to hire more police officers.

The Panel backed her plans to hike council tax by £24 a year to fund more police officers with the extra cash enabling a renewed recruitment drive that would bring force strength to 3,100 by the end of 2020, the highest level since 2012 and 186 officers higher than when she became Police and Crime Commissioner in 2016.

But she ruled out a similarly sized rise in council tax for 2020/21.

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