Suffolk’s recorded crime grew at twice the national rate
PUBLISHED: 06:00 22 July 2016 | UPDATED: 08:26 22 July 2016
New figures have shown huge rises in reported crimes in Suffolk over the previous year with concerning spikes in some of the most serious offences.
Crime statistics for England and Wales were published yesterday with Suffolk recording some of the nation’s steepest year-on-year increases.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) the number of crimes reported in Suffolk in 2015/16 was 18% higher than the previous year, more than double the national rate of increase. Only six of the 43 forces featured in the study recorded greater year-on-year rise.
However Suffolk police said a change in reporting systems in October meant some data had been duplicated; an issue noted in the report.
The report found the number of robberies in Suffolk had risen by 41% last year, the second highest rate in the country. Sexual offences had also increased steeply (49%), the third highest rise in the country.
Localised figures showed particular problems for Ipswich, where the total number of crimes recorded was up by 22%; with a staggering 95% increase in sexual offences; 61% rise in robberies and 53% more reports of violence against the person. There was also a significant rise in public order offences, up 75% on the previous year. Suffolk Coastal saw an even greater rise in public order offences (91%).
Deputy Chief Constable Steve Jupp said the figures should be viewed in a “wider context” claiming more recent changes had seen reported crime cut by almost 9%, with reductions in all areas apart from robbery.
He said “it should be noted that Suffolk is a safe county with low crime numbers”.
“Any changes in figures therefore result in a high percentage change,” he added.
The rise in public order offences was partially due to incidents previously classed as anti-social behaviour being recategorised, Mr Jupp claimed.
He also said the rise in sexual offences was a national issue following high profile abuse cases and the increased confidence of victims in coming forward.
Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said he would be monitoring the force’s performance closely, particularly in regard to serious sexual offences.
However, he stressed the county was safe with public confidence in the constabulary high.
“I am satisfied that reported crime is down and the trend looking forward is promising,” he added.
A recent HMIC report praised the force in areas such as keeping people safe, reducing crime and its standard of leadership.
“We are extremely proud of this, and achieve it through the hard work and dedication of our officers and staff who work to protect our communities every day,” Mr Jupp added.
Figures in Essex were broadly similar to the national average, with slightly higher levels of violence; theft from the person and public order offences. The ONS said many of the increases, nationally and locally, were due to improved crime recording practices.
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