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Devon and Cornwall among safest places in the country

Devon and Cornwall among safest places in the country

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 3:35pm 17th October 2019. (Updated at 3:38pm 17th October 2019)

New crime figures show that Devon and Cornwall is the fifth safest of all 43 police force areas in the country.

That is according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) report for the 12 months to June this year.

The annual increase in total reported crime was also among the lowest, at 1.3% down from a 4% increase at the end of March 2019.

But our Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly says the figures underline the importance of remaining vigilant in the fight against organised crime.

PCC Alison Hernandez said work to combat organised drug supply was reflected, but warns that we should not be complacent.

"Organised drug supply, including through so called 'county line' networks, remains one of the most significant risks we face in our communities.

"Drug dealers coming from metropolitan areas bring with them weapons and violence and exploit vulnerable people to help them distribute drugs.  

"Devon and Cornwall Police is taking large scale action to combat this - we have invested over £5.5 million pounds in the last three years into new proactive policing teams and in dedicated operations to target specific county lines or organised crime groups.  

"The ongoing increases we are seeing in the number of crimes recorded for drug offences (up 13%) and the possession of weapons (up 15%) are a reflection of that concerted effort, although I recognise there remains more to be done."

Alison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner

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She expressed concern at the 32% rise in robbery. 

"While these increases are on relatively low base numbers, and should be seen in the context of our area being for one of the safest parts of the country, I am concerned about the continued rise in robberies and I am in discussion with the Chief Constable to better understand the issues we face and the response being taken.

"While I am pleased to see reductions in many areas of recorded crime we cannot and will not be complacent.  Crime levels remain a concern to me and to our communities and we must continue to do all we can to improve our response to all types of crime.  

"Recruitment of more officers is part of the solution so I am delighted that, in addition to a planned uplift in force strength, we will have an additional 141 officers added to the force through the first year of the national uplift."

Alison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner

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She said that further support was needed from the Government to recognise "exceptional challenges" in Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly due to tourism levels, rurality and isolation as a peninsula.  
"Despite our chocolate box image, we are not immune from drug dealing and organised crime that has taken hold in the country at large," she added. 

The Devon and Cornwall force has more visitors to its area each year than any other outside London. A bid has been submitted to the Home Office for £17.9m to recognise these extreme pressures.   

Nationally, the figures show that knife crime offences have hit a record high in England and Wales, rising 7% in the last year.

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