Peter Walsh, Crime correspondent
Saturday, October 20, 2012
A senior police officer has hailed new figures which again reveal Norfolk is one of the safest places in the country.
The Home Office has published its quarterly crime report which reveals a seven per cent year on year fall in crime - the equivalent of 3,013 fewer victims of crime in Norfolk, between July 2011 and 2012.
Assistant Chief Constable Gareth Wilson, who earlier this month led the high profile day of action, code-named Operation Octane, said: “There are certain crimes that we know - and the public tell us - cause the most harm to local communities; these include violent and sexual crimes, burglary, robbery and vehicle crime.
“The national figures are encouraging but we will continue to target and bring to justice those offenders which people tell us are causing the most harm to them and the wider community.”
The quarterly Home Office figures bench marks Norfolk as one of the safest counties in England and Wales, with 47 crimes per 1000 of the population against a national average of 70.
The figures show a sharp drop in burglary, with home burglaries falling by 24 per cent. Vehicle offences, which includes theft of and from vehicles, reduced by 14pc and criminal damage fell by 15 per cent.
The figures, compiled by the Office of National Statistics, show a reduction in all crime categories in Norfolk with the exception of violence against the person, sexual offences, fraud and forgery offences and drug offences.
There were slight increases in violent against the person - a rise of two per cent (206 offences) - and serious sexual offences - a rise of five per cent (40 offences), both of which remain priority crime categories in the county.
Robin Chapman, chairman of Norfolk Police Authority, said “The NPA is delighted with the sustained improvement in overall performance of the Constabulary. This should be reassuring to the public at large and demonstrate that the Authority and Chief Constable have made the right decisions as to longer-term investment and resources over recent years.”
Jenny McKibben, Independent chair of the police authority’s performance and engagement committee, said: “The constabulary have delivered superb improvements in performance across the board, both in local crimes that affect communities such as ASB, and in the more serious crimes that sometimes go unseen.
“They have achieved this in the face of serious budget cuts, and a major programme of collaboration with Suffolk Constabulary, and done this by getting in early to stop crime escalating, being very analytical about what works best where, and very focused so that everyone is pulling in the same direction. We are able, in November, to hand over the performance monitoring responsibility to the incoming PCC leaving the Constabulary in great shape for the future.”
Operation Octane aimed to put the spotlight on prolific or harmful offenders in Norfolk and saw a range of police and partner activity across the county. A total of 29 house raids were carried out, along with roadside operations and community events to address anti-social behaviour.