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Crime down but pressure on criminals continues

22nd January 2015

Latest figures for the Northumbria Police region show the force is continuing to reduce crime.

In the newly published quarterly Crime Statistics, which give an overview of crime in England and Wales for the 12 months to September 2014, recorded crime fell by 1% in the region. This is higher than the national figure which showed a fall of 0.4%.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird said: “I work very closely with the Chief Constable and we are determined to keep this pressure on the criminals and drive crime down.

“My police and crime plan has five objectives, which the public helped to decide. They are all aimed at tackling the issues important to the communities in this region with one specifically aimed at reducing crime.

“I’ve been supporting the force’s long running Operation Soundwave, where officers target those involved in opportunist crime and promote crime prevention advice,” the Commissioner said.

“This has been achieving tremendous results while providing reassurance and valuable advice to people to help them keep themselves and their property safe.”

There have been increases in seven of the categories with sexual offences up by 55% or 543 crimes, following the increasing national trend in recorded sexual offences.

Vera Baird said: “While this is an area for concern it should also be seen in a positive light as it shows people have more confidence in coming forward to report these offences to police.

“We know this takes a lot of courage and I have been working closely with the force to introduce additional training, help increase understanding and change practices to ensure when people seek help they are given the best available help there is.”

The Commissioner said she was also aware of the impact the force’s long running Operation Sanctuary, investigating allegations of a series of sexual offences, had been having on the figures.

“Again this shows that the positive action the force has been taking in tackling this issue is being noticed and acted on by people who have themselves been the victim of a sexual offence,” Mrs Baird said.

The force has one of the lowest overall crime rates per 1,000 population in England and Wales – tenth nationally out of 43 forces.

“We are going in the right direction but we will continue to follow our police and crime plan and listen to our communities to ensure we are tackling the crimes and issues which are important to the Northumbria region,” the Commissioner said.

The Crime Statistics use the most recent statistics from the Crime Survey for England and Wales together with police recorded crime.

Chief Constable Sue Sim commented: “Crime figures are only part of the story. Victims must be at the heart of what we do, focusing on those crimes and incidents that have the greatest impact on victims and ensuring victim care is the best it can be. It’s pleasing that we remain one of the top forces for victim satisfaction, however, there is always more we can do.

“These figures show a reduction in overall crime and a reduction in most areas of crime which is, of course, satisfying. We remain committed to directing policing resources to these areas and will continue to keep the pressure on the crime levels in our region.

“Forcewide initiatives such as Operation Soundwave have made significant inroads to tackling volume crime and we will continue to work with our partners to ensure our communities are safe places to live, work and visit.

“There has been a slight increase in shoplifting offences and violence against the person, similar to the national trend. We have already taken action to deal with these issues and will continue to do so.

“I work closely with the Police and Crime Commissioner to ensure we meet the objectives set out in the Police and Crime Plan and, despite some financial challenges, I remain committed to neighbourhood policing and working with local people to keep their communities safe.”