Suffolk crime costs taxpayers £270 each

CRIME is costing taxpayers in Suffolk more than £190million a year, shock new figures show.

Danielle Nuttall

CRIME is costing taxpayers in Suffolk more than £190million a year, shock new figures show.

Data published for the first time shows crime is costing each Suffolk resident £270 a year - higher than Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire.

The figures, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, have been published todayby the Taxpayers' Alliance.

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The campaign group is calling for police forces to be brought under local control to make them more accountable and to remove “unnecessary bureaucracy” which takes police officers away from their duties.

Its figures show Suffolk had the 18th highest cost per head of recorded crime in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2007.

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Violence against the person accounted for most of the crime bill in Suffolk last year with residents paying £160 each for that category of offence while sexual offences cost each resident £40 last year and theft £18.

In Norfolk, residents pay a total of £199 for crime every year, Cambridgeshire £204, Essex £283 and Bedfordshire £255. Figures for Hertfordshire are unavailable.

The Taxpayers' Alliance compared crime data from each police force with Home Office estimates of the cost of each type of crime. Using local population figures, it produced a league table of police forces ranked by the cost of crime per head of population.

Matthew Sinclair, policy analyst at the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: “Every one of us pays a steep price for high crime rates, particularly those living in urban areas.

“The problem is that politicians in Whitehall insist on micro-managing the police. If the Government give people the information and the power to tailor their local police force to their local needs, we will be able to drive crime levels down and improve the lives of millions.”

But Matthew Gould, chairman of Suffolk Police Federation, today described the idea of controlling police forces locally as nonsense.

“Local control means political control locally. It would be disastrous for the police force to become under the control of politicians locally,” he said.

“It's nonsense as far as I'm concerned. Local accountability is already provided by the police authority.”

The Alliance said crime nationally cost almost £15billion in 2007 - the equivalent of almost £275 for every person.

Residents of Nottinghamshire faced the highest crime bill at £390 per person, closely followed by London at £388 and Humberside at £380.

A Homes Office spokesperson said: “Estimates of the current costs of crime (like the Taxpayers' Alliance estimates) serve to recognise that there is a continuing cost associated with crime, and a need to seek new ways to reduce it. That is why the Home Office, other departments and agencies continue to develop new crime reduction strategies, targets and policies.

“Crime recorded by the police has fallen by 12% compared with the same quarter last year and British Crime Survey data, which reflects people's overall experience of crime, shows a 6% fall.”

The total cost of crime by category in Suffolk 2007

Violence against the person £112.5m

Common assault £3.15m

Sexual offences £28m

Robbery/mugging (of personal property) £2.4m

Burglary in a dwelling £6.3m

Theft (not from a shop) £13.1

Criminal damage £11.9m

Burglary (not in a dwelling) £12.2m

Theft from a shop £385,264

Robbery/till snatch of business property £103,105

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