More than 6,000 fewer crimes were recorded in Northamptonshire, a drop of 13 per cent, in the past year according to latest figures released by the county’s police force
Figures published today for the year ending March 31 show there were 40,898 crimes, compared with 47,038 for the previous year.
The data shows that violence is down 11.1 per cent, burglary is down 14.8 per cent and vehicle crime is down 21.5 per cent.
However, drug trafficking is up 15.4 per cent, drug possession is up 5.7 per cent and rape is up 1.1 per cent. Other sexual offences are down 5.2 per cent
Northamptonshire Police said survey results show that 85.2 per cent of people questioned have confidence the force is dealing with local concerns.
Chief Constable Adrian Lee said: “We were given the challenge of reducing violence in Northamptonshire by 40 per cent and have reached 21.6 per cent in the last two years, something that has involved a lot of hard work from all officers and staff in all parts of the county. We have seen reductions in alcohol related violence, youth violence and domestic violence.
“Policing is going through a difficult period nationally and I am pleased to see that in Northamptonshire we have been able to concentrate on the task at hand and significantly reduce crime.
“It is rewarding to see that we have had a reduction in crime across the board, from violence, to burglary to vehicle crime and sexual offences.”
The chief constable said the increase in drug offences reflected the work the force had done to target organised crime in the county.
He said: “Drug offences are recorded when drugs have been discovered, so an increase in offences means an increase in police activity to uncover them.
“Our focus has to remain on reducing and solving crime and that is what my officers and staff will do over the coming 12 months. We have made a significant improvement this year but there is more to do if we want to be the safest place in the country.”
Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner Adam Simmonds said he is pleased with the reduction in crime but warned there is more to do.
Mr Simmonds said: “The force has worked extremely hard over the last 12 months to ensure fewer victims of crime and I must commend every officer and staff member for their contribution to that effort.
“The organisation has been through a significant period of change with an ever increasing pressure on police resources and to achieve such a large reduction in crime is something to be applauded.
“Having said that, we still have a lot to do to, while at the same time needing to cut a further £23 million from our budget over the next five years.”
Mr Simmonds said structural changes within the organisation meant there were now five per cent more officers in front line roles than there were 12 months ago.
Special Constables completed 80,430 hours of volunteering in Northamptonshire, an additional 25,000 hours to the previous year.
Adam Simmonds added: “We are in the process of recruiting more Special Constables to work alongside regular police officers in departments across the force. Volunteers have a valuable place working with our police officers, the number of which I have committed to keep at a minimum of 1,220.
“In the last three years the force has had to cut £17 million from its budget and has another £23 million to save in the next five years.
“That means there will have to be further changes within the force and how we do things. We can not expect to continue to be able to do everything the same way as we do now.”
Mr Simmonds said the police would have to look at further collaboration within the East Midlands and with colleagues in the fire service to
continue to reduce crime and maintain the number of police officers in the county.
Breakdown of statistics for Northamptonshire
Violence 8,287 7,368
Burglary 3,177 2,706
Vehicle Crime 5,204, 4,084
Rape 272, 274
Other sexual Offences 522 495
Drug Tafficking 285 329
Drug Possession 1,419 1,500
Shoplifting 4,539 4,386
Fraud 1,428 0*
Bicycle Theft 1,043 886
Criminal Damage 7,851 6,727
Possession of Weapons 235 253
Public Disorder 1,011 920
Theft 1,180 800
*All fraud offences are now recorded nationally with some coming back to Northamptonshire Police for investigation.