Bedfordshire’s new Chief Constables says the force has managed to cut costs while improving performance as it is revealed the county’s overall crime rate has fallen.
The figures published nationally today in England and Wales show Beds’ overall crime rate has fallen again, this time by six per cent in the 12 month period to June 2013.
Overall the following figures in Beds have been recorded as having a nine per cent reduction in violence against the person offences compared to a three per cent reduction in England and Wales.
There was and 18 per cent reduction in the more serious Violence with Injury sub category, the second largest reduction in Violence with Injury in England and Wales.
A 28 per cent reduction in Robbery offences compared to a 13 per cent reduction in England and Wales, which is the 6th largest reduction in England and Wales and a six per cent reduction in burglary offences.
There has also been a four per cent reduction in theft offences including a seven per cent reduction in shoplifting and a 10 per cent reduction in theft from person offences as well as a seven per cent of Bedfordshire residents experienced or witnessed drink related behaviour.
This was significantly below the England and Wales rate of 10 per cent.
However, there was a 42 per cent increase in sexual offences, although Beds Police say the actual number of crimes committed remains comparatively low with Bedfordshire experiencing the 8th lowest rate in England and Wales.
Reacting to the figures, Chief Constable Colette Paul said: “This is fantastic news for the people of Bedfordshire and for everyone at Bedfordshire Police who works so tirelessly to fight crime and protect the public.
“We cannot do this alone however so thanks also go to our partners and local authorities with whom we work together to build a safer Bedfordshire.
“It is important to acknowledge that this achievement is against the backdrop of challenging funding cuts and is the result of the determination and ability shown by all our staff to find new and creative ways to meet these challenges.
“We have cut costs while improving our performance; less crime means fewer victims and that is something we should all be very proud of.
“I am not complacent though and together with Police and Crime Commissioner Olly Martins, it is important that we continue to encourage reporting of crime.
“This, coupled with seasonal variations, however, means a rise in crime in some areas but we believe this demonstrates an increased confidence and trust by the public we serve in coming forward and reporting it.
“This is already reflected in the increased reporting of sexual offences, changes to such small numbers create significant percentage increases, but there are a number of reasons for this including the publicity surrounding Operation Yewtree (Jimmy Savile) and elsewhere the increase is the enforcement activity around soliciting and kerb crawling offences, which we have been focusing on, particularly in Luton. Here we have proactively targeted an issue causing community concern and this has resulted in a significant increase in offences being recorded and detected.
Above all we will continue to ensure our focus remains on victims of crime, while also protecting the wider public so they feel safe as they go about their day to day lives. We have some way to go with satisfying victims and there are of course still areas where we need to work even harder and be more creative with the resources we have to keep reducing crime.”
Bedfordshire’s overall crime rate for the period Bedfordshire was 56.6 crimes per 1000 population, below the England and Wales rate of 62.1 crimes per 1000 population.