BURGLARY, robbery and violent crime have plummeted despite budget cuts to police forces across the region, The Journal can reveal.
Crime figures have fallen across the North East in the past 12 months as police chiefs from Northumbria and Durham battle widespread Government cuts.
Rates of crime in the Northumbria Police area, which includes Tyne and Wear and Northumberland, is down by more than 8%, when compared with last year, and in County Durham and Darlington there has been a 9% drop.
Both forces have recorded a drop in violent crime, drug offences, burglary and criminal damage.
Durham has seen a rise in sexual offences, although police chiefs have claimed this is due to an increase in victims’ confidence leading to more incidents being reported. Northumbria has seen a slight rise in drugs-related offences.
Durham’s Chief Constable Jon Stoddart said the success had been achieved despite funding cuts, a freeze on police officer recruitment and a number of police staff redundancies.
He said: “We anticipated the financial difficulties and because our crime and disorder is falling our frontline officers and staff are more productive than ever.
“By going ahead with a force re-structure which will enable us to do more with less, we are in a good position to continue to maintain or improve our performance.”
Northumbria Police is being forced to impose major changes to the way the force operates in order to cope with funding cuts of £57m.
Police chiefs are looking to shed more than 825 civilian posts by March 2013. In addition to this, the force hopes to lose around 318 officers in the same time period by natural wastage.
But in the figures released last night, the total number of crimes reported dropped to 82,463 offences for in 2010/11, compared with 89,790 the previous year.
Violent crime has been cut by 10% and vehicle crime has fallen by more than 13%. There were 500 fewer burglaries over the past year while criminal damage fell by 19% which equates to over 4,000 fewer crimes.
The number of sexual offences, which had risen in 09/10, fell by just under 5% over the past year. And racially and religiously motivated crime fell over 9%.
Last night Northumbria’s Temporary Chief Constable Sue Sim, said: “This is a great achievement gained by working closely with our communities, identifying emerging crime trends and targeting resources where they are needed most.
“As ever this was a real team effort. This year on year reduction would not be possible without the dedication of all Northumbria Police employees, our partners across the region and most importantly, the people in our communities who continue to back their local police force. While pleased that our work has helped bring yet another drop in crime we are not complacent and we know we still have work to do in driving down all types of crime and this will remain a priority for the coming year.”
In Durham, total crime has fallen from 40,287 in the last financial year to 36,548 this year. Violent crime is down by 18%, criminal damage, 19% and burglary has fallen by 21%.
There has been a 16% rise in sex offences, which have gone from 411 to 477. The detection rate for these offences has gone up by 8%.
Chief Constable John Stoddart of Durham Police said: “I’m proud to be leading a force with such an unrivalled record in crime reduction. I must pay tribute to all police officers and staff for their professionalism and commitment.”
Mrs Sim added: “We will continue to listen to local people, ask them what their concerns are and deliver a service that meets their needs and addresses local problems.”
Coun Mick Henry, chair of Northumbria Police Authority, said: “Northumbria Police continue to make strides forward and these latest figures will be welcomed by all the Police Authority members.”