OPINION: There is more to recent burglary figures

PUBLISHED: 11:43 10 May 2018 | UPDATED: 11:43 10 May 2018

An image from the CCTV police have released following the burglary at the Palace Cinema in Gorleston in April. Police said they still investigated every burglary. 

An image from the CCTV police have released following the burglary at the Palace Cinema in Gorleston in April. Police said they still investigated every burglary. Picture: NORFOLK POLICE


Deputy Chief Constable Nick Dean has responded to our recent article “Police solve one in 10 burglaries”

MORE: Revealed: How thousands of burglaries go unsolved

Headlines and opinions are a fundamental part of newspaper journalism and while I understand this, I feel it is important to highlight that a single article cannot give context to the complexity of modern policing.

I am concerned that recent EDP headlines around burglary did not take into account how the police service is often judged on a number of outcomes.

The article did not, for example, break down figures to show where officers do have a suspect but have insufficient evidence to secure a charge. Nor did it highlight the amount of research and evidence gathered by the constabulary during its recent review that led to a policing model which ensures neighbourhood policing has the additional resources it needs to support our local communities.

I can reassure your readers that we take all types and levels of crime seriously and while I am confident that they look beyond headline statements, a certain amount of unnecessary alarm and distress is caused, despite the balanced reporting that may then follow.

In addition, your front page story, dated May 2, did not reflect accurately the extensive work that Norfolk Constabulary has undertaken over recent years to prevent crime and protect our communities.

The changing nature of crime has been well documented, both reflecting the complexity of what we deal with and the increasing level of demand in areas such as domestic abuse, child sexual exploitation and sexual offences.

This does not mean, however, that we have stopped focusing on those who commit crimes such as burglary. In fact, Norfolk Constabulary has recently been graded as outstanding by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate in its ability to prevent crime and keep people safe.

It is also important to remember that while there has been a recent rise in such crimes, there has still been a 50pc reduction in burglary figures since 2003, with Norfolk seeing over 5,000 fewer break ins to people’s homes and businesses.

While as a force we don’t want to see any crime increase, it is important to remember that we still sit at fourth in the country for the lowest number of burglaries per 1,000 head of population and have seen the lowest percentage rise in burglaries over the last year across the eastern region.

Set against a national increase of 8.6pc in burglaries, Norfolk has witnessed a rise of just 5.8pc - less than one burglary a day across the whole county.

We need to work together to tackle crime not against each other and to state that we are “losing the fight” does not reflect the hard work delivered day in, day out by our officers and staff to protect our communities. Nor does it show the excellent cooperation we receive from our public. It would be a great pity if we lose sight of that commitment to achieve a short term gain.

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