From Devon & Cornwall Police:
According to data, crime has reduced by 9.5 per cent in the Force area during the 12-month period to the end of June 2020. In comparison, England and Wales has seen a decrease of 4.9 per cent.
Assistant Chief Constable, Jim Nye, has welcomed the news and praises staff and officers for their commitment to proactive policing in our communities.
He said: “Devon and Cornwall have always been one of the safest areas in the country. To have that confirmed again by ONS data over a year-long period is a great result for Devon & Cornwall Police and the communities we serve.
“While the figures only include the first three months of the lockdown period, it shows the significant effect it has had, particularly around burglary and vehicle-related crime. I am proud to say our workforce continues to adapt and overcome this constantly fluctuating period.
“The figures highlight how hard our officers, staff and volunteers are working to reduce crime, as well as keep local communities safe.
“Although 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.
“We are pleased to see our efforts are paying off, but we will never stop working to make sure that communities are safe and secure.”
A rise has been seen in two categories within the crime statistics, a 10.9 per cent rise in possession of weapons and 1.3 per cent rise in drug offences. These have been seen due to a continued effort in proactive policing to target these areas of crime.
ACC Nye added: “To see an increase in these areas is a tribute to proactive and diligent policing. These results show our excellent work in targeting the likes of 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 crimes, that we absolutely will not tolerate their activities.”
Alison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said: “These are not ordinary times, and consequently these are not an ordinary set of figures. They only cover 11 weeks of the lockdown period but we can see what a colossal effect that is has had on crime.
“I’m pleased that with all the doom and gloom around we can deliver some good news in that residents of Devon and Cornwall are safer in terms of a crime threat than they have been. Lockdown made life harder for criminals, and it also made it easier for police to identify criminal activity like county lines drug dealing.
“It’s also important to note that while it might have wrought havoc in many ways, coronavirus has not prevented a recruitment drive that has added 144 more police officers to overall force strength this financial year, that’s more additional police officers than we’ve had in at least a decade. These new recruits will make it easier to retain our place as one of the safest force areas in the country.
“I’d like to thank the hard-working officers, staff and partners who have kept going in difficult circumstances and who kept Devon and Cornwall open to visitors this summer while maintaining some of the lowest infection rates in the country.”