OVERALL crime in Torbay increased slightly over the last year, but fell in Teignbridge and the South Hams.
The total number of crimes in Torbay recorded over the 12 months up to March 31 were 9,800. In the same period for the previous year the figure was 9,496.
The figures for Teignbridge were 5,023 for the last year compared to 5,100 and in the South Hams it was 2,758 compared to 2,850.
Across Devon as a whole there were reductions in non-dwelling burglary 12.8 per cent or 341 crimes, robbery 8.1 per cent or 15 crimes, dwelling burglary 7.9 per cent or 129 crimes, criminal damage 7.4 per cent or 553 crimes and vehicle offences 2.3 per cent or 70 crimes, with historically low crime levels for home burglaries and vehicle offences.
To view a breakdown of the crime figures click here
But Devon and Cornwall police have tempered the good news with a warning resources need to be diverted to tackling violent crime and away from low-level offences. Across the force robberies and vehicle offences saw double-digit drops while burglaries and criminal damage also dropped substantially, crime statistics out today show. At the other end of the scale, possession of weapons, drug trafficking, public order offences, rape and domestic abuse saw a sharp spike with rises well into double figures across the force area. Senior officers say the set of figures marked a remarkable turnaround after the summer heatwave sent crime soaring.
Deputy Chief Constable Bill Skelly commended officers for the reversal given the huge reduction in staffing and resources.
“These figures are encouraging with £40million less budget and fewer officers — crime is roughly at the same level as it was last year when we had more officers and staff,” he said.
“We thought there would be a significant rise after last year’s challenging summer and expected our figures today to be much higher but we concentrated our focus in November and December and are now at this flat-line, steady position.”
Despite the success, Mr Skelly warned that further cuts meant there “simply won’t be the staff” to respond as before to offences such as criminal damage, which will “not get the same attendance at a scene or follow-up”.
“There’s no doubt we won’t have the resource to do everything that we currently do,” he added.
“But it is about putting the victim at the centre of what you are doing and listening.
“There are priorities about the crimes which cause the most harm to people – that’s where we are going put our effort.”
Police and crime commissioner Tony Hogg said the static level provides a solid platform to improve performance in coming years.
“Last year I asked the chief constable to cut overall crime by two per cent and, while I would have preferred to be talking today about a drop in the number of offences, I acknowledge the force has progressed,” he said.
TO see the crime figures in full visit heraldexpress.co.uk
Chief Superintendent Paul Davies, Devon commander, welcomed the reduction in crime but acknowledged there are some areas which need more attention.
Ch Supt Davies said: “The reduction in crime in Devon is a commendable achievement by my officers and staff who have been working incredibly hard over the last 12 months to ensure Devon remains a safe place to live.
“We have seen significant reductions in robbery, burglary and criminal damage which are all extremely difficult and stressful for victims to cope with and I am pleased to see these crimes continue to fall.
“Despite this there has been an increase in some areas and there is further work to do to reduce crime even more.”
Crime performance data is hugely complex and these figures are only one indication of how the Force is doing. Crime figures are a useful measure to help identify where to direct resources but overall figures rarely show the true picture.
“Victims are at the forefront of everything we do and our officers focus on the crimes that have the most adverse impact on people’s lives. We are doing everything we can to reduce crime in these areas.
“Domestic abuse, which accounts for about a third of all violent crime, remains a high priority for us. This, along with sexual offences, is an area that has been traditionally under-reported to police. Officers have concentrated on encouraging victims to report incidents to police, which may help to explain why the number of incidents in this area has increased.
“Reports of shoplifting have increased; a trend being seen nationally. We are taking action to tackle this across Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, working with local partners and businesses to reduce retail crime.
“We know there are challenges ahead in tackling levels of violent crime, particularly alcohol-related violence and these are areas we will be focusing particular attention on this year. However this is not something we can tackle alone; our partners and the local community also have a role to play in keeping Devon safe from harm.”