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Devon & Cornwall is UK's safest region

Chief constable Shaun Sawyer

Crime here is country's lowest

Just about the safest for covid. And now for crime too. Figures from the Official for National Statistics show crime in Devon and Cornwall is the lowest in the country. Not only that, it's reduced even further in the last year; down six per cent. That's against a national rise of 1.4 per cent in the year ending 31 March 2020. 

Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer said: “We have always strived to make Devon and Cornwall the safest place in the country and today that ambition has been realised. To be ranked number one is fantastic news for our communities and testament to the hard work of all our officers, staff, special constables and volunteers in keeping our communities safe. I am very proud of every member of our Force for the commitment and dedication they show to reducing crime and protecting our communities. 

“While crime figures are only one area of performance we measure, my hope is our communities will feel reassured that we are working with them and our partners to reduce crime and the fear of crime. Every crime matters to our communities so we will continue to focus on driving down the figures. 

In the period April 2019 to March 2020, 100,529 crimes were recorded compared to 106,967 in the previous 12 months. This six per cent decrease in overall crime represents 57 recorded crimes per 1,000 residents, the lowest in England and Wales. This moves Devon & Cornwall Police up from the number two spot to number one place in the league table to become the top force with the lowest crime rate.

Victim-based crime is also the lowest in the country, with a fall of 6.9 per cent, from 92,594 to 86,170, resulting in 48.9 crimes per 1,000 people.

Of the 16 crime types included in the ONS tables, Devon & Cornwall recorded drops in twelve. 

  • Vehicle offences dropped 19 per cent, shoplifting by 18.6 per cent with other theft down 19.6 per cent.
  • Burglary of dwellings decreased by 8.9 per cent and non-dwellings down 13.3 per cent with drug trafficking dropping 9.4 per cent.
  • Possession of weapons rose 13.3 per cent while possession of drugs rose 7.4 per cent. 

However, rape went up by 3.4 per cent, robbery rose by four per cent and violence without injury went up by 1.1 per cent.

Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer continued: “Within the figures there are still clearly challenges for us. For instance, supported by the Police and Crime Commissioner, we are investing in a dedicated programme of prevention in relation to serious violence, which is funded for the next four years. So we are not complacent. We will continue to improve our standards, maintain our focus on performance, and invest in new technology, capability and interventions where we can, in order to make our communities even safer in the future.”

Alison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said she was pleased her police and crime plan had yielded results.  “Our police force deserves great credit for its work to keep people safe, but so do our communities, who are generally law abiding and look out for one another,” she said. “Underpinning these superb figures is a huge amount of work in partnership with others to prevent crime, to protect people at risk of crime and to assist those who could be led into a life of crime to find alternatives. Whether it is community safety partnerships working with young people to help them avoid exploitation, volunteers manning Community Speedwatch sites or people taking the time to look after their neighbours through Community Watch, there is so much good work going on.”

She said that most police calls had nothing to do with crime and this still remained a significant challenge for the force.  “Crime only accounts for 16 per cent of the incidents reported to police,” she continued. "In Devon and Cornwall our officers deal with more missing people and people suffering mental illness than most other force areas, and it is important that we recognise that.

“The work with others to ensure people get the help they need before a situation escalates to being a police matter is absolutely essential, and the focus of my efforts in terms of dealing with mental illness, road safety and a whole variety of other areas. To maintain our place as the safest force area it is essential that we continue to build force strength and drive forward the crime prevention initiatives that will build stronger, more connected and resilient communities.”

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