Police Federation call for ‘more boots on the ground’ as crime increases in Huntingdonshire


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Crime has increased year-on-year in Huntingdonshire, according to the latest police recorded figures.

There were 9,877 reported offences between July 2017 and June 2018, data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows.

That’s up by five per cent on the previous year, when 9,379 incidents were recorded.

That means there was a rate of 56 crimes per 1,000 residents during 2017-18, below the England and Wales average of 84.

The statistics are based on crimes reported to the police, and the ONS urges caution in interpreting some of these figures.

Some offences go unreported while others may be more numerous due to a change in the focus of the police or greater public attention.

However, the ONS believes crimes such as burglary and theft, which are generally well reported and recorded, have genuinely increased.

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Joe Traynor, from the ONS centre for crime and justice, said: “Over recent decades, we’ve seen continued falls in overall levels of crime but in the last year the trend has been more stable.

“We saw rises in some types of theft and in some lower-volume but higher-harm types of violence.”

Gun and knife possession offences in Huntingdonshire rose by eight to 74 incidents.

There were 633 residential burglaries reported in 2017-18. Due to a change in how the ONS categorises burglaries, the localised figures cannot be compared with other years.

There has been one homicide, a murder or manslaughter. There were five cases of death or injury by dangerous driving.

Across England and Wales, the number of recorded homicides rose by 14%, reflecting an “upward trend” since 2014. These figures excluded people who died in terror attacks.

There was a nine per cent increase in offences with knives or sharp objects, leading to the highest number of incidents since March 2011, when comparable records started.

In Huntingdonshire theft, one of the most high volume crimes, increased by nine per cent. Drugs related offences slightly dropped by four per cent.

Commenting on the national figures, Chief Constable Bill Skelly, of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said: “Rising crime is placing greater demand on policing, as forces strive to reduce crime as well as respond to a growing terrorist threat.

“There are also more calls from the public for help, including responding to people in crisis when other agencies lack their own capacity.”

Mr Skelly said the gap in numbers between reported crimes and criminals being charged is a “real concern for us”.

“The upcoming spending review is a crucial opportunity for the Government and police leaders to come to a consensus about police demand, our capabilities to meet it and the funding required,” he added.

Criminal damage in Huntingdonshire, which includes arson and vandalising cars and houses, has gone down, from 1,404 incidents in 2016-17, to 1,292 in the latest figures.

While violence with injury, which includes assault, GBH and wounding, has risen, this could just be due to improved police recording as opposed to an increase in incidents.

Similarly sexual crime statistics are hard to judge as many more victims are now coming forward due to a series of high profile cases.

In Huntingdonshire there were 300 incidents recorded between July 2017 and June 2018, a seven per cent rise on the previous year, when 280 crimes were reported.

There were also 476 cases of stalking and harassment reported over the same period.

John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation for England and Wales, said: “It didn’t take a crystal ball to predict these shocking increases because they only reflect what we have been telling the Government for years – we need more boots on the ground.”

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire police said: “While we have seen an increase in overall recorded crime in Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire, our countywide increase is lower than the national average (10 per cent).

“Increases in recorded crime mirror the national trend, however for the majority of crime types Cambridgeshire is seeing an increase which is lower than the national average.

“Our focus remains on reducing harm and protecting the most vulnerable in our communities, and prioritising incidents which pose the greatest threat, risk and harm, along with those which stand the best opportunity for successful outcomes whilst filtering out those for which no reasonable lines of investigation exist.”