Figures suggest crime is falling in West Lindsey

Crime levels in West Lindsey have reduced by almost a fifth, according to the latest police recorded figures.

There were 4,642 reported offences between July 2017 and June 2018, data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows.

Incidents of recorded crime have fallen in the last year

Incidents of recorded crime have fallen in the last year

That’s down by two per cent on the previous year, when 4,756 incidents were recorded.

That means there was a rate of 49 crimes per 1,000 residents during 2017-18, below the England and Wales average of 84.

The statistics are based on crimes reported to the police, and the ONS urges caution in interpreting some of these figures.

Some offences go unreported while others may be more numerous due to a change in the focus of the police or greater public attention.

However the ONS believes crimes such as burglary and theft, which are generally well reported and recorded, have genuinely increased.

Joe Traynor, from the ONS centre for crime and justice, said: “Over recent decades, we’ve seen continued falls in overall levels of crime but in the last year the trend has been more stable.

“We saw rises in some types of theft and in some lower-volume but higher-harm types of violence.”

Gun and knife possession offences in West Lindsey rose by 11 to 36 incidents.

There were 480 residential burglaries reported in 2017-18.

Due to a change in how the ONS categorises burglaries, the localised figures cannot be compared with other years.

There has been one homicide, a murder or manslaughter.

Across England and Wales, the number of recorded homicides rose by 14 per cent, reflecting an “upward trend” since 2014. These figures excluded people who died in terror attacks.

There was a nine per cent increase in offences with knives or sharp objects, leading to the the highest number of incidents since March 2011, when comparable records started.

In West Lindsey theft, one of the most high volume crimes, increased by 15 per cent. Drugs related offences dropped by 20 per cent.

Chief Constable Bill Skelly, of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said: “Rising crime is placing greater demand on policing, as forces strive to reduce crime as well as respond to a growing terrorist threat.

“There are also more calls from the public for help, including responding to people in crisis when other agencies lack their own capacity.”

Mr Skelly said the gap in numbers between reported crimes and criminals being charged is a ‘real concern for us’.

He added: “The upcoming spending review is a crucial opportunity for the Government and police leaders to come to a consensus about police demand, our capabilities to meet it and the funding required.”

Criminal damage in West Lindsey, which includes arson and vandalising cars and houses, has gone up, from 776 incidents in 2016-17, to 783 in the latest figures.

While violence with injury, which includes assault, GBH and wounding, has risen, this could just be due to improved police recording as opposed to an increase in incidents.

Similarly sexual crime statistics are hard to judge as many more victims are now coming forward due to a series of high profile cases.

In West Lindsey there were 172 incidents recorded between July 2017 and June 2018, a 25 per cent rise on the previous year, when 138 crimes were reported.

There were also 153 cases of stalking and harassment reported over the same period.

John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation for England and Wales, commented: “It didn’t take a crystal ball to predict these shocking increases because they only reflect what we have been telling the Government for years – we need more boots on the ground.”

Labour described the ONS statistics as ‘truly shocking’ and accused the Tories of ‘failing in their duty to protect the public and keep our citizens safe’.

Diane Abbott MP, Shadow Home Secretary, said: “These figures are a tragic indictment of this Tory Government’s policies.”

Nick Hurd MP, Minister for Policing, said: “This Government is determined to tackle all types of crime - and although the chance of being a victim remains low, we are taking decisive action in a number of areas.

The Government announced a £200 million Youth Endowment Fund to support ‘young people at risk of involvement in crime’.

Mr Hurd added: “On top of this, we are consulting on a public health approach to serious violence and giving police extra powers to tackle knife crime through our Offensive Weapons Bill.”