Recorded crime in Derbyshire has risen for the first time in ten years.
The latest statistics, which reveal the end-of-year figures for the force, show that recorded crime rose by two per cent in 2013/14 compared to April to March 2012/13; an increase of 1,094 offences.
Although the number of offences reported by the public increased, there were still 15 per cent fewer than there were two years ago.
Crimes of violence reduced by 6.5 per cent from 9,820 to 9,177 while shoplifting and non-domestic burglaries rose by 17 per cent (848) and 19 per cent (787) respectively. Vehicle crime (which includes theft of and from vehicles) rose by nine per cent (470) and domestic burglary rose by two per cent (51).
Derbyshire’s Chief Constable, Mick Creedon, said: “We knew that crime could not fall forever, especially in light of the tough economic times the country as a whole, and especially some parts of the north of England is going through. It is significant that the increase in offences classed as stealing is well over 2,000 crimes, and the majority of these are of very low value.
“The significant reduction in police and other agencies’ budgets has meant hundreds less police officers, police staff and big reductions in other partners’ staff numbers. This makes it more and more difficult to carry out the preventative and diversionary work that can make such a difference to levels of crime.
“Theft from major retailers accounts for the majority of all shoplifting crimes, with large supermarkets being the main victims. Of all the shoplifting offences recorded, 62 per cent were from 10 retailers, namely the Co-op, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Boots, Asda, Marks and Spencer, One Stop Stores, B & M Bargains, Morrisons and Aldi. Most of these thefts involve relatively small amounts of food or other goods with the majority being under £30 in value. Eighteen per cent of all shoplifting includes the theft of alcohol.
“In total we recorded nearly 6,000 offences of shoplifting, which is more than 11 per cent of recorded crime, and of the top 15 locations that my officers are repeatedly called to in the city and county, three are single sites of major supermarkets. Whilst I in no way defend or excuse people stealing from stores, the fact is there are limited interventions the police can do to reduce this offending.
“One positive aspect of rising crime is that more people have shown confidence in reporting allegations of rape, which is up by 25 per cent, and other serious sexual offences which have increased by six per cent. I am pleased about this statistic - it has long been understood that sadly only a small proportion of sexual offences are reported, so I welcome any increase as I do with increased reporting of crimes such as domestic violence and child abuse. While we continue to strive to reduce crime, this rise in reports of sexual offences is a positive indication of the public’s growing levels of confidence with the police service and how we deal with these most difficult cases.
“While the increase in these crimes may concern some people, everyone should realise that sexual offences account for less than 1.7 per cent of all recorded crime.”
Mr Creedon has also asked for victims of domestic abuse to report more of these offences to the police. Although there has been a slight rise in reports, these offences are normally hidden crimes committed within families and during and after relationships.
Mr Creedon added: “Despite the fact that our budget has reduced by £20.1m since 2010 we continue to see crime at historically low levels and Derbyshire still has some of the lowest crime levels in the country. The number crimes recorded by the police is about 50 per cent less than it was ten years ago.
“The crime statistics also need to be put into context - they are a record of those crimes that the public choose to tell us about and which are defined by a national standard. Chewing gum stolen from a supermarket or a minor scratch to an unattended parked car is a recordable crime, whereas a drunk driver in an unlicensed, un-roadworthy and uninsured car, talking on a mobile phone whilst speeding the wrong way on a one way pedestrian street is not.
“I ask the public which is the more serious in terms of risk and potential harm?
“Additionally, the crime statistics rarely reflect the more complex offences we deal with such as child grooming and sexual exploitation, money laundering, drug trafficking, paedophilia, modern day slavery, child abuse, forced marriage, female genital mutilation and many others. This type of insidious offending is hidden; it is rarely reported by the victim and only tends to be discovered after long term proactive resource-intensive investigations.
“The crime statistics are important but they don’t necessarily reflect the totality of offending and risk in the county.
“I am pleased that confidence and satisfaction levels continue to remain high. In the latest independent Crime Survey of England and Wales, Derbyshire saw its highest ever level of confidence with more than 76 per cent of people in Derbyshire indicating that they have confidence in their police.
“Perhaps more importantly satisfaction with our service is also high at 87 per cent but we are not complacent. We continually work to improve levels of public confidence and satisfaction and our aim is to always provide the best service possible within the resources we have available.”
Derbyshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Charles said: “Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Charles said: “In the face of the severe funding cuts the Constabulary has delivered an extremely good performance. While it is disappointing to see a small overall increase in the number of recorded crimes, predominantly these are acquisitive crimes, and even more specifically shoplifting of low value items many of which can be attributed to the exceptionally difficult financial plight in which people find themselves due to austerity measures.
“On the positive side, the increase in the number of recorded incidents of domestic violence illustrates that victims have greater confidence to seek help, secure in the knowledge that they will be taken seriously and treated appropriately.”