Annual Crime Figures: 10% rise in reported crime

Devon and Cornwall Police still has the third lowest crime rate in England and Wales

The latest crime figures have been published today and they show a rise in recorded crime for Devon and Cornwall Police, however the Force still has the third lowest crime rate in England and Wales.

Overall reported crime between April 2016 and March 2017 has increased by 10.6%.

Recorded crime levels for sexual offences have gone up by approximately 25% during the twelve months, compared to the previous year.  Many of these crimes relate to cases that happened in the past and are now being recorded. The force is actively changing recording practices which is positively impacting upon these figures.

Recorded crime levels of violence without injury have gone up 23%. With new crimes recorded this year for the first time which account for more than half of this increase.

Deputy Chief Constable James Vaughan said: “There have been a number of new laws introduced which will see a rise in crime figures for all Forces across the country, not just in Devon and Cornwall. An example of this is the introduction of the Malicious Communications Act.

“Examples of new crimes that fall within this act include harassment, abusive and threatening messages sent via social media, phone calls that the victim perceives as threatening in their nature, and even an abusive note left on the windshield of a car for parking in front of someone’s house.

“Crime figures only represent a small part of what we as a Force actually do; around 80% of our business is non-crime related.

Liskeard’s finest on patrol

“We have one of the highest levels of public confidence of any Force across the country, and this means that people feel supported and confident that we will take their crime seriously.

“The upshot of this confidence from our public, is that we will see a rise in the reporting of certain crime types.

“According to Crime Survey in England and Wales, the perceived risk of becoming a victim of crime (both household and personal) remains low, with Devon and Cornwall being the fifth lowest in the country. This reflects that residents feel safe in our area.

“It is also important to note that following a survey on victim satisfaction, 80% of victims were satisfied with the services received from the Force and we have worked hard as a Force to improve our response in a number of key crime areas such as rape, sexual offences, modern slavery and domestic abuse.

“In recent years we have seen a huge rise in both current and historic reporting in these areas, and I am encouraged that victims are finding the courage to come forward and reach out to us knowing that that they will be supported.

“No victim should suffer in silence, and Devon and Cornwall Police will continue to work hard to support victims and to give a voice to each and every one of them, regardless if this sees a rise in our crime figures.

“We aim to deliver an outcome that puts the safeguarding and wishes of the victim at the heart of our investigation and where appropriate brings offenders to justice.

“Although the police and Criminal Prosecution Service (CPS) work closely together, the decision whether or not to prosecute sits with the CPS. Approximately a quarter of crimes recorded in Devon and Cornwall result in a criminal justice outcome.

“Whilst we will endeavour to see this number increase, convictions of the guilty are not the only important outcomes for victims. Some victims seek protection from violence or threats of violence and have been safeguarded and professional support provided even though they have not supported a prosecution. We currently provide safeguarding to 47% of victims of a crime where no suspect has been identified.

“I am confident that not only are my staff and officers working hard to protect and serve the public of Devon and Cornwall, but that this part of the country continues to remain a safe place to live, work, and visit, and that the likelihood of becoming a victim of crime is still very low.”

Figures from ONS relating to national police performance up to the 31stDecember 2016 have also been released today. These figures show that Devon & Cornwall Police recorded a 6% increase in recorded crime.