Crime falls despite major incidents

CRIME in Suffolk plummeted by almost 3% between April and December - despite an unprecedented series of major incidents in the county.Figures show that 1,181 fewer offences were recorded up to the end of December 2006 compared to the previous year, down from 40,121 in 2005/06 to 38,940 in 2006/07.

By Danielle Nuttall

CRIME in Suffolk plummeted by almost 3% between April and December - despite an unprecedented series of major incidents in the county.

Figures show that 1,181 fewer offences were recorded up to the end of December 2006 compared to the previous year, down from 40,121 in 2005/06 to 38,940 in 2006/07.

This is mostly due to a dramatic drop in offences committed in December as the force dealt with the killings of five women and a fatal shooting.


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During that month, only 3,779 offences were recorded - the lowest number in any month for four years.

The force has put the fall down to the “significant increase in police presence” in the Ipswich area.

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More than 350 officers from across the country joined the constabulary during a period of exceptional demand.

But the figures, contained within a Suffolk Police Authority performance report show violent crime has increased by almost 4% (325 offences) during the same period, although this has slowed from the 5% recorded after the first six months of the year.

Chief Constable Alastair McWhirter says in the report: “The Constabulary continues to be pleased with the improvement seen in performance across many areas during the year to date, particularly in recent months.

“The major investigations in December had a significant impact on the constabulary's resources and its capacity to deliver core 'day-to-day' policing.

“It is, therefore, a credit to all officers and staff that, even during the periods of unprecedented demands for policing services, crime levels have continued to fall, detection rates have continued to increase, and quality of service provided to victims of crime and to the people of Suffolk has continued to improve.”

In addition to overall crime, the constabulary saw domestic burglary rates fall by 13.9% (207 offences) in the first nine months of the financial year.

This is a complete reversal of last year's performance, which saw a 7.9% in burglaries during the same period.

There was also a 1.1% (43 offences) drop in vehicle crime.

Mr McWhirter said: “The constabulary continues to target prolific offenders in order to prevent and detect offences and this has, in part, resulted in the constabulary's sanction detection rate (how many offences result in a charge) improving to 28.2%, compared to 26.3% in the same period last year.”

He added that initiatives the force had introduced to tackle violent crime were yielding some successes.

Meanwhile, the force ensured that out of nearly 77,000 999 calls in the period, 94.2% were answered within 10 seconds and an officer arrived at the scene within 15 minutes of an emergency call on 88.7% of occasions.

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