Police bosses defend spike in crime rate

The attempted robbery happened at some point between 6am and 6.09am on January 3 in Valley Way, Newmarket.
The attempted robbery happened at some point between 6am and 6.09am on January 3 in Valley Way, Newmarket.

The number of crimes being committed across Norfolk and Suffolk has increased.

Figures charting the number of recorded offences for October 2016 to September 2017 show double-digit rises.

Norfolk Constabulary remained in the top 10 safest counties with a rise in all crime of 11.8 per cent – equating to 5,665 crimes. This brings the total number of crimes to 53,962.

Domestic burglary saw a rise of 720 crimes, while sexual offences increased by 22.8 per cent – with 410 further crimes committed in the past year.

However, some offences saw a drop. Non-domestic burglary saw a drop of 28.5 per cent, from 2,390 to 1,708, while criminal damage and arson dropped by 0.1 per cent, from 7,290 to 7,280.

Deputy chief constable Nick Dean said: “Anyone being a victim of crime is one too many but it is saddening to see that there continues to be a rise, much of which is focused on the most vulnerable in society.

“It is also important to remember that much of the crime we are now recording is complex, time consuming and requires officers to adapt their inquiries to investigate it.

“This change in demand for our services has influenced our policing model and, in addition, has seen an increase in calls received by our control room, both more 999 and non-emergency calls than previously reported.

“Again, we can evidence that these calls are becoming much more complex in nature.

“Today’s figures show a rise in most crimes but, in particular, in violence against the person and robbery. We have undertaken a huge amount of work with partner agencies, especially in the night time economy, to address this rise in violent crime. However, we also need to understand that violence, as defined by the crime recording standards, incorporates a large range of incidents.

“I believe that these crime figures demonstrate that Norfolk continues to be a safe place to live, work and visit.”

In Suffolk, the county’s crime followed the national trend and rose by 15.3 per cent. The region is ranked as the 17th lowest county for crime rates nationally.

Sexual offences saw an increase of seven per cent, a rise of 126 more offences. Robberies saw an increase of 18 per cent. Vehicle crime increased by 10 per cent. Violence against a person rose by 29 per cent. A 87 per cent rise in harassment figures, and a rise of 59 per cent for domestic burglary was attributed to changes in classification.

However, Suffolk saw a 15 per cent drop in thefts from a person.

Suffolk’s deputy chief constable Stephen Jupp said: “We remain proud of Suffolk’s long-standing reputation for being one of the country’s safest counties and these latest figures reflect the national trend of increases in various crime categories.

“That being said, we have to accept we live in an ever-changing world which makes policing more complex than at any other time in the past, and we continue to deliver high standards of investigation.

“We are constantly looking for ways to develop and improve our policing model to help address these rises.

Both forces commented that growing confidence in victims coming forward may be a factor in the rise in reported crime and improved crime recording standards.