The changing nature of crime has had a major impact on a rise in offences in Suffolk, one of the county’s most senior officers has said.
The crime figures for the county, released today by the Office of National Statistics, are also said to reflect the complexity of policing in today’s world.
The crime indicators are for the year between October 2016 and September 2017 and show offences have risen by 15.7% compared to the previous 12 months, and this figure is in line with the national trend of a 15.3% increase.
Suffolk recorded 68.1 crimes per population compared to a national average of 80 crimes per population, resulting in the county being the 17th lowest county for crime rates nationally.
Sexual offences saw a rise of 7% (126 more offences) when compared to a national increase of 23%, robberies have increased by 18% (49 more offences) when compared to a 29.5% increase, vehicle crime saw an increase of 10% when compared to a national average of 18%, theft from person saw a drop of 15%, (80 fewer offences) when compared to a national rise of 12%, while violence against the person saw an increase of 29% (3,657 more offences) against a national rise of 20%.
The rise in harassment figures (up 87%) (1,933 more crimes) can be attributed to changes in the crime classification for this category with harassment added to stalking, while the rise in the domestic burglary rate (up 59% to 225 more offences) also now incorporates some classifications that previously would have come under ‘Burglary Other’.
Suffolk’s Deputy Chief Constable Stephen Jupp said: “We remain proud of Suffolk’s long-standing reputation for being one of the country’s safest counties and these latest figures, in general, reflect the national trend of increases in various crime categories.
“That being said we have to accept we live in an ever-changing world which makes policing more complex than at any other time in the past, and we continue to deliver high standards of investigation and this has been consistently reflected by HMIC inspections. We are constantly looking for ways to develop and improve our policing model to help address these rises in various categories.
“This complexity encompasses a continued shift towards certain types of crime, including those termed as areas of ‘hidden harm’, such as sexual offences, internet-based crime, domestic abuse and modern-day slavery.
“Set against how we respond to these growing challenges is our determination to ensure other types of crime, including violence and burglaries in particular, remain among our top priorities.
“We are also determined to continue to do everything we can to protect the communities we serve and live in, and those who are most vulnerable in our society.
“It is important to stress some of the increase in crimes can be attributed to the confidence growing numbers of victims have in their reports being taken seriously, changes to the way in which some crime is classified and some improvements in our crime recording processes.”