Crime figures released by Thames Valley Police have shown a drop of over 6,000 recorded crimes in the last year and over 5,000 fewer victims.
Across Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire from April 2014 until the end of March 2015 there were 121,208 crimes recorded, compared with 127,408 in the 2013/2014 reporting year. On the previous year this is a further reduction of almost 5%.
Victim based crime has fallen by 4.5% with robbery, burglary and vehicle theft showing significant falls. Robbery is down by 17% and all burglary has fallen by 18%, with dwelling burglaries at their lowest level since 1973.
The chance of being a victim of vehicle theft has reduced in two years from one in 159 in 2012 to one in 203 in 2014, equating to a fall of 18%.
In the past year, there has been an increase of 10.4% in violence against the person across Thames Valley. Comparatively however, this is over 10,000 fewer crimes than five years ago (*1) and the Thames Valley remains in the bottom 25% of the 43 police forces, based on the Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) data published in September 2014 (*2).
Reporting of sexual offences have increased by 34.5% with rape reporting in particular rising 52.6% in the past year, however 31% of all rapes reported occurred before April 2014.
In the past year there have been 187 child sexual exploitation (CSE) related crimes recorded across Thames Valley and within this financial year, the Force has made 38 charges (*3).
Whilst domestic crime has increased by 6% this year, the recent HMIC domestic abuse inspection found that the public could have confidence that Thames Valley Police provides a good service to victims of domestic abuse and those at greatest risk of harm receive a more bespoke service from specialist officers (*4).
Chief Constable, Francis Habgood, said: ‘Crime in the Thames Valley continues to fall and victim satisfaction remains high (*5). The reduction for robbery, burglary and vehicle theft is particularly significant. This is testament to the officers, staff and volunteers who, with the support of members of the public and partners, worked so hard to achieve this.
The greater reporting of sexual offences is encouraging and we will continue to safeguard and protect victims of these crimes and thoroughly investigate each case.
Violence has risen in the last year, but levels in Thames Valley have been lower than national averages and we will continue to work with our partners and local communities to tackle these crimes.‘
Police and Crime Commissioner for the Thames Valley, Anthony Stansfeld, said: ‘I want to thank all the Thames Valley police officers, staff and volunteers for their continued hard work. Their invaluable contribution ensures Thames Valley is an even safer place for all our communities, with crime now at a 25 year low and household burglary at a 41 year low.
Levels of violence in the Thames Valley remain consistently low in comparison with other Forces, and the small increase in cases is largely because of lowering the criteria required for reporting.
Along with the Force and our partners, we have enhanced the support given to victims of sexual offences and domestic violence. This will continue over the year ahead and I am delighted that more people have had the confidence to report these offences.
A clear direction of travel has been set by the Chief Constable to deliver my key priorities in 2015/16. The Force is already committed to the challenges of delivering policing to all communities, and is tackling new emerging trends such as cyber crime and fraud, exploitation and slavery.‘
(*1) – Five year comparison figure based on Thames Valley Police 2009/10 – 2014/15 crime performance figures.
(*2) – HMIC crime and policing comparator, violence against the person / Thames Valley Police/All Forces comparison : https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmic/crime-and-policing-comparator/
(*3) – Niche RMS based on Tuesday 1st April 2014 – Tuesday 31st March 2015
(*4) – HMIC PEEL Assessment of Thames Valley Police : https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmic/thames-valley/
(*5) – The level of victim satisfaction in Thames Valley Police is 89.12% which is greater than in England and Wales as a whole as reported by HMIC.