From Devon & Cornwall Police
New figures released today, Thursday, April 22, 2020, show Devon & Cornwall as having the second lowest reported crime rate in England and Wales.
Data released by the Official for National Statistics, shows crime has reduced by 3.3% in the force area during the 12 month period to the end of December 2019. This against a national rise of 4%.
Deputy Chief Constable Paul Netherton has welcomed the news and a commitment to proactive policing in our communities.
He said: “We’ve always known that our force area is one of the safest in the country, as well as the most beautiful, but to have that confirmed by data over a year long period is great news for our communities.
“The figures show just how hard our officers and staff are working to keep our communities safe and reduce crime.
“While crime figures are only one area of performance we measure, my hope is our communities will feel reassured that we are working with them and partners to reduce crime and the fear of crime”.
It is important to note these figures cover a period to the end of 2019 so do not include any data related to COVID-19, (coronavirus), or the time period of the 2020 COVID restrictions.
Although overall crime is down, there have been notable increases in drug offences and possession of weapons.
DCC Netherton added: “To see rises in these areas is a tribute to proactive and diligent policing.
“These excellent results show our work targeting county line gangs, where vulnerable children and young adults are recruited to deal drugs, is having an effect.
“We are sending a clear message to the criminals behind these gangs that we absolutely will not tolerate their activities. So far they have racked up over 400 years of jail time, with plenty more to come.”
DCC Netherton said: “As a force we never lose sight of the fact a statistic is not a number, but a real person and victim of crime
“Being a victim of crime is a horrible experience for anyone, so although we are pleased to see our efforts are paying off, we’ll never stop working to make sure that people here are safe and secure.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez said the reduction was a result of multiple organisations pulling in the same direction.
“In recent years the force has improved its position to almost make it to the top overall in England and Wales, making it one of the lowest levels of recorded crime in the country,” she said.
“Our work with prisons to reduce offending, the way we better support victims of crime, our community’s involvement in safeguarding themselves with schemes like street pastors and Operation Encompass, which provides support to children affected by domestic violence, all complement the good policing led by Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer and highlighted by external inspections over the past few years.
“It is great to get recognised for such crime fighting efforts in official data, as well as through accolades such as the internationally recognised World Class Policing award the force received recently.
“That is positive news for our communities and for the prospects for our economy after the coronavirus lockdown, as more people and businesses will be drawn to live, study and work in prosperous and safe parts of the country.
“However, we cannot be complacent. The number of possession of weapons and drug offences rose in this latest set of figures due to proactive policing techniques such as stop and search. I will be pressing ahead with the Chief Constable on our proposals for a violence prevention centre to further tackle this problem.
“I am also keen that police and partners have a renewed focus on the daily issues like antisocial behaviour and vandalism that make life less pleasant for the vast majority of law abiding people. So please take the time to report what you see or experience so we can be clear what is happening in our communities and we can tackle it together.
“Our ambition has to be for us to take number one spot, as every crime matters to our communities.”