Violent crime falling in Suffolk

POLICE in Suffolk are winning the war against violent crime, with figures showing a 2.5% drop in the past 12 months.A new performance report reveals 280 fewer violent offences were recorded in the county during 2005/06 compared to the previous year.

By Danielle Nuttall

POLICE in Suffolk are winning the war against violent crime, with figures showing a 2.5% drop in the past 12 months.

A new performance report reveals 280 fewer violent offences were recorded in the county during 2005/06 compared to the previous year.

The number of 'more serious' violent offences committed in a public place - such as murder, manslaughter, robbery and wounding - also plummeted, with 97 fewer offences reported.


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Meanwhile, the number of cars stolen in Suffolk saw a dramatic drop of 23.2% - 381 fewer than in 2004/05 - mirroring an overall decrease in vehicle crime of 3.3%.

Despite total crime marginally increasing by 1.4% (730 offences) last year, Suffolk remains as one of the best performing in a group of similar sized forces and has one of the lowest crime rates in England.

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Detective Chief Superintendent Stewart Gull, Suffolk Constabulary's head of crime management, said: “We are delighted that there has been a drop in violent crime in Suffolk, particularly as it has been a priority of ours for some time now.

“As part of the Suffolk First For You campaign we have been working hard with our partners to ensure that our streets remain safe places to live, work and socialise.

“A particular emphasis has been placed on tackling night time alcohol-related offences and I am pleased to say that initiatives under our Night Safe campaign, such as zero tolerance policing and the 'Lock 'em Inn' leaflet, have paid dividends.

“However, we are not complacent and we will continue to work hard to further reduce violent crime, especially during the summer months.”

The latest crime figures, contained within a report to Suffolk Police Authority, show that domestic burglary rates rose by 7.9% (142 offences) compared with 2004/05 - although the county still has one of the lowest burglary rates in the country.

This has been blamed on an increase in distraction burglaries towards the end of this year. These are offences where offenders typically target the homes of elderly or vulnerable people, sometimes purporting to be from the water or gas board, and engage them in conversation before stealing cash or property from their homes.

“We are disappointed to see a slight increase in overall crime but would like to reassure the public that, despite this rise, Suffolk remains one of the safest counties in the country,” said Det Supt Gull.

“Our research indicates that in more than 30% of all household burglaries in the county the offender has entered through an unlocked door or an open window - so we would appeal to the public to make sure their homes are secure at all times.”

The report, set to be discussed at a meeting on Friday, shows the police force's detection rate (offences that bring someone to justice) at 26.3% is above the target of 25.8%, set by the police authority.

However, the force exceeded last year's performance for answering 999 calls within 10 seconds, achieving 93.6% compared to 86.7% in 2004/05.

This is a direct result of the Call First project, which saw the recruitment of 19 new call takers, the creation of a central crime desk and the introduction of four new contact centre supervisors.

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