Crime figures published today, Thursday 20 July, show a rise in recorded crime for Devon and Cornwall Police, reflecting an overall national increase in recorded crime.
The Force has seen a 17.4% increase across Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly between July 2016 and June 2017, yet we remain the third safest Force area in England and Wales.
Deputy Chief Constable Paul Netherton of Devon and Cornwall Police acknowledged the rise but said it was the good work of his officers that led to more crimes being reported and investigated.
He said today “According to the Crime Survey for England and Wales, we have one of the highest levels of public confidence of any force across the country, which is 86%. As a result of high levels of public confidence we expect to see a rise in the reporting of certain crime types. Reporting of sexual offences (up 38.9%) reflects an increase in confidence of victims coming forward”
There have again been year on year increases in crime recording for crimes such as possession of weapons (up 33.1%), public order offences (up 31.6%) however drug offences are down (4.2%).
“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 violence” continued DCC Netherton
“No victim should suffer in silence, and we will continue to work hard to support these people and to give a voice to each and every one of them, regardless if this sees a rise in our crime figures
“We are now starting to see some increases in crime taking place in local communities. Such rises are being reported nationally and are generally being seen for higher-volume, less serious types of crimes.
DCC Netherton then seemed to hint at the austerity programme that has seen all emergency services and other public agencies face severe cutbacks when he said
“It is too early to explain exactly why this is happening, as the reasons are likely to be complex, related to societal factors and influenced by changes to services across the whole public sector over the last few years.
We have experienced an unprecedented volume of 999 calls in June 2017, as reflected across the emergency services nationally”
DCC Netherton added: “Although the police and Criminal Prosecution Service (CPS) work closely together, the decision whether or not to prosecute sits with the CPS. Approximately 20% of crimes recorded in Devon and Cornwall result in a criminal justice outcome, which is just over the national level of 17%.
“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 44.5% 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.”
Crime figures for the Force are released on our website and can be found here