Thames Valley Police has issued crime statistic which cover the past twelve months.
The latest figures show that there were 138,710 crimes reported across Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire from 1 April 2016 until 31 March 201. This is a 7.2% increase to the previous year (2015/16) where there were 129,449 reported crimes within the same time frame.
Of these 7,763 crimes were reported in Chiltern and South Buckinghamshire Local Police Area (LPA), a rise of 8.7% on last year.
The increase is reflected nationally (ONS Crime Survey of England and Wales¹), and is largely attributed to improvements in compliance with National Crime Recording Standards, following recommendations made by HMIC in 2014.
Overall crime levels in Thames Valley still remain low compared with five and ten years ago. There were 66,976 fewer crimes recorded in this timeframe compared with five years ago (205,686), and 8,357 fewer recorded offences compared with ten years ago (147,067).
The HMIC’s latest PEEL assessment² rated Thames Valley Police as good across all areas of policing (effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy), and victim satisfaction remains high at 88%, compared with the national average of 84%.
Following the release of the figures, Superintendent Yvette Hitch, LPA Commander for Chiltern and South Buckinghamshire, said: “Whilst we have seen an increase in overall reports of crime this year, figures remain low per head of population and we have seen a decrease in some key areas.
“I am confident that many of the perceived increases are down to improvements in crime-recording, increased victim confidence in reporting offences and the proactive work of the force and multi-agency work in tackling crimes including organised crime groups, rather than a greater risk of becoming a victim of crime.
“The LPA continues to face a significant challenge from cross-border burglary offending, which is unique in the force with 50% of the LPA’s borders shared with the Metropolitan Police and Hertfordshire Constabulary which is reflected in the 15.6% increase in burglary dwelling offences, with 503 reports. We will continue working collaboratively with partners in The Metropolitan Police Service and Hertfordshire Constabulary through intelligence sharing and cross-border anti-burglary operations, which target cross-border criminals using the main arterial routes removing all boundaries and working as one policing team. Targeting these offenders remains our priority.
“We also continue to target those who cause the most harm in our communities, including organised crime groups, and as a result have seen a decrease in overall drug offences of 13.8%, including a decrease of 14.9% in possession of drugs, a 6.1% decrease in trafficking of drugs and a 2.9% decrease in possession of weapons across the LPA. Our proactive crime prevention and targeted operations have significantly impacted these figures and highlight the success Thames Valley Police has had in tackling these crimes. We will continue to be robust in tackling criminal activity within Chiltern and South Buckinghamshire with a particular focus on Stronghold – Thames Valley Police’s campaign to encourage joint working with communities to tackle serious and organised crime.
“We have seen an increase in a sexual offences this year, which demonstrate the growing confidence and trust of victims reporting crimes.
“A key aim for us to raise awareness and confidence in the local community in reporting incidents to us, this is reflected in the increase we have seen in reporting of offences like hate crime. Despite the increase we know that this remains an under-reported crime and we are committed to encouraging people to come forward and report these incidents to us.
“We are going to continue to take a proactive approach in tackling crime and cross-border offending and would actively encourage anyone who has been a victim of crime to come forward and report it to us. We continue to constantly monitor changes in the nature of crime to allow us to adapt, adjust and provide an effective response.
“We remain determined to prevent crime, bring offenders to justice and protect the most vulnerable, in order to keep Chiltern and South Buckinghamshire a safe and pleasant place to live, work and visit.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank my officers, staff and our partners for their hard work over the past year and extend my gratitude to our communities for their continued support.”
The full crime summary, including a breakdown of Local Policing Area (LPA) statistics, can be viewed here: https://www.thamesvalley.police.uk/about-us/publications-and-documents/performance-figures/
Any victims that do require emotional or practical support to help them cope from the impact of the crime can find information and an appropriate local organisation by visiting the Police and Crime Commissioner’s new website: www.victims-first.org.uk