Response to West Yorkshire's Crime Statistics (18 Oct 2013)

The Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire Mark Burns-Williamson has praised West Yorkshire Police for cutting crime despite the cuts to the police budget.

The data from the Independent Office of National Statistics for the 12 months to June 2013 shows an 8% decrease in overall crime across West Yorkshire, a larger reduction compared to a 5% drop seen across the country. There are also significant falls in household burglary rates in West Yorkshire (down by 19.7%) and robbery (17.9%).

Although the overall statistics are good news, with reductions across the majority of the crime types, there are some concerns. The number of sexual offences recorded by the police showed a 51.1% increase while shoplifting offences rose by 9.9%.

Responding to the data Mark Burns-Williamson said:

"Overall recorded crime is down by 8% which is good news for our local communities. This is a real tribute to the dedication of police officers and staff working hard to cut crime across West Yorkshire. Tackling burglary is a commitment in my Police and Crime Plan and a reduction of 19.7% demonstrates that West Yorkshire Police are delivering on this priority and on their commitment to make our communities safer and feel safer.

"I am concerned about certain trends including the increase in sexual offences though some of this clearly relates to historical cases. It is reassuring that more victims of sexual offences have the confidence to come forward to the police and record these terrible crimes. The excellent West Yorkshire Police 'Know the Signs' child sex exploitation campaign is also helping to raise awareness and protect our children. However, the risks to the most vulnerable in our communities are clear and priorities will need to be assessed.

"Cuts across the public sector are hitting services hard, with the police budget estimated to reduce by £142.9m lower by 2016/17 and other public sector agencies facing even larger cuts. Communities have also been directly affected by changes such as the reforms to the welfare system. In July I held a problem solving event with partner agencies from across West Yorkshire to explore rises in crime which may be linked to the current financial climate, such as the increase in shoplifting. As part of this, West Yorkshire Community Safety partners agreed to meet on a quarterly basis to consider a joint response to such issues.

"I will be seeking assurances from the Chief Constable, Mark Gilmore, that the increases seen here are being addressed. In November I will be holding my quarterly meeting with him to discuss more recent crime trends and concerns, to ensure that emerging threats are being addressed and tackled in a timely fashion."

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