Crime down again in West Yorkshire (16 Apr 2015)

Crime in West Yorkshire is at a 31-year low, latest figures released today reveal.

However, continuing financial pressure and reducing resources mean the success of the past year will be increasingly difficult to sustain in future.

West Yorkshire Police continues to drive down crime with 1,635 fewer victims of crime in the year up to the end of March, when compared with the same period the previous year.

Reductions in house burglary and other burglaries have been recorded with 760 fewer victims and the number of thefts from vehicles is down by 2,743 offences.

Criminal damage and theft are also down with a 27.4 per cent reduction in thefts from people.

West Yorkshire Police Temporary Chief Constable Dee Collins said: "Crime is now back at levels last seen in the early 1980s. This is a tremendous performance when considering the challenging financial climate we have been operating in during recent years.

"Our officers and staff continue to work hard to reduce crime and these results are testament to their efforts. However as we move forward with diminishing resources it is difficult to see how this downward trend can be sustained - in fact, we are already seeing an upturn in some crimes.

"We are committed to doing everything we can to deliver the best quality service to support the public of West Yorkshire. We are investing in the very latest technology to support the work of our frontline staff and looking to deploy all our resources in the most cost effective and efficient way."

Changes in the way crimes are recorded and increased victim confidence to report offences has led to increases in recorded violent crime - up by 5,531 offences - mainly non-injury crimes such as verbal harassment and common assault, and sexual offences which are up by 1,353.

This reflects the trend nationally and is also as a result of a change in recording practices which puts victims as the focus and has their crime reports recorded at the earliest opportunity. This results in a better service with victims reassured that their calls are responded to quickly and effectively. Rates of violent offending in West Yorkshire remain low compared to other similar sized force areas.

T/CC Collins added: "We are constantly developing our procedures to ensure crimes are recorded accurately, offering the best possible service to victims ensuring they are confident that their concerns will be taken seriously and dealt with positively and robustly.

Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, said: "It is reassuring to see that overall crime across West Yorkshire has fallen. These figures demonstrate that West Yorkshire Police officers and staff continue to work hard to help bring down crime despite severe budget pressures.

"I have raised with the Temporary Chief Constable the issue of increases in recorded violent crime and sexual offences and we are discussing what more can be done to bring these figures down.

"It is however positive that we have seen decreases across many crime types, but this does need to set alongside crime recording issues, and although a lot of work is being done by West Yorkshire Police to address this, I will continue to closely monitor the outcomes of this work.

"West Yorkshire Police has had to work with fewer and fewer resources after severe Government cuts -but these figures demonstrate that the hard work and continued commitment of officers, staff and colleagues working in organisations tackling crime is currently working.

"While it is reassuring that crime has reduced, police officers and staff are required to deal with more and more complex issues such as Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE), cyber crime, human trafficking and counter terrorism.

"I consider data such as this on a timely basis to ensure issues are identified quickly and acted upon."

NOTE TO EDITORS: These are the latest figures available to West Yorkshire Police - The Office of National Statistics (ONS) is due to publish figures on Thursday April 23 which relate to the last calendar year.

© Copyright West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 2019