Big drop in crime follows major police changes

By Dan Santy Tuesday 16 October 2012 Updated: 23/10 09:29

MAJOR changes to Warwickshire Police have been vindicated with the release of figures showing crime has dropped significantly.

So says Chief Constable Andy Parker, who hailed an overall drop in crime of around 7,600 in six years as 'outstanding'.

The statistics compare crime levels from April to September this year with the same period in previous years.

And in the last six months, there have been significantly less incidents of serious violence, robbery, burglary, car crime and anti-social behaviour than there were last year.

The figures - which go back to 2006, when there were an average of 186 crimes committed daily - show this has dropped to 84.

Ch Con Parker said the results were particularly impressive in light of the millions of pounds of budget cuts the force has been grappling with for the last two years.

He told The Observer: "The reason we're so delighted is because we had £16 million cut from our budget and have had to restructure the whole organisation and change how we work.

"What's particularly pleasing about this is that Warwickshire was one of the first forces to go ahead with changes to its structure when the cuts were announced."

He put the force's performance down to a renewed focus on areas with high crime. Currently, relatively small parts of Rugby, Leamington and Nuneaton account for over a quarter of offences in Warwickshire.

Since the West Mercia alliance started in February, the two forces have shared staff and resources, meaning more are available to tackle serious organised crime and repeat offenders.

And while Warwickshire now has just 800 officers, they are supported by 250 volunteer constables - specials - and a further 80 people doing unpaid back office work like updating databases in order to help out.

According to the figures, there were 17,285 crimes committed in the first six months of last year. This has dropped to 15,378 this year - the biggest year-on-year decrease seen in the county since 2006.

Among these, there were 1,342 cases of serious violence (down nine per cent), 970 homes burgled (down 12 per cent), 147 robberies (down 15 per cent), 1,922 vehicle crimes (down eight per cent), and 11,122 anti-social behaviour incidents (down eight per cent).

Ch Con Parker said the drops reflected the situation at district level, not just across the county as a whole.

"If you looked at every type of crime you might find an obscure one where there has been a rise, but all the main types people know about have been reduced significantly," he added.

"People should feel safe living, working and visiting Warwickshire as crime levels are at a significant and outstanding low in the county."

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