Crime Down

CRIME in Northamptonshire fell by 5.9 per cent during 2008/09, the fifth successive year that crime has come down in the county.

During the last year, between 1 April 2008 and 31 March 2009, offences dropped from 63,567 to 59,904 – 3,753 fewer than in the previous year.

This year there were 15,000 fewer victims of crime in Northamptonshire than there were in 2003/04, a decrease of 19 per cent.

Chief Constable Peter Maddison said: “Northamptonshire Police is committed to delivering the best possible quality of policing services to the people of this county and I am very proud of my police officers and staff, who have worked tirelessly with partner agencies to ensure that we have brought crime in the county down for the fifth year in a row.

“It is very encouraging to see nearly 4,000 fewer victims of crime compared to last year. But be in no doubt, our endeavours will continue with vigour as we work to reduce crime further and build public confidence, through listening to our communities and responding to their needs.

“My staff are determined to tackle the increases of domestic burglary and robbery we have seen in the north of the county, and I am particularly pleased to see the positive results already coming through in combating these peaks.

“Initiatives such as Smartwater and Operation Tiger have made significant impacts on burglary offences and vehicle crime throughout Northamptonshire, and we will be keeping the pressure on criminals throughout 2009.

“The challenges facing us in the longer term are also significant. As a region we have to deal with one of the fastest rates of population growth in the country, with all the demands for policing and public service that this necessitates.

“I and my colleagues in the local authorities and NHS continue to keep this on the government’s agenda, to ensure the county is adequately funded to deliver the service we would all wish to.”

The headline figures are as follows:-

Violent crime – DOWN 8.7 per cent
Commercial burglary – DOWN 8.7 per cent
Vehicle crime – DOWN 4 per cent
Theft and handling – DOWN 8.9 per cent
Criminal damage – DOWN 7.8 per cent

Sexual offences – UP 8.2 per cent
House burglary – UP 7.1 per cent

Deirdre Newham, the Chair of the Police Authority, commented: “It is heartening to see that crime is down again for the fifth consecutive year.

“At the Police Authority, we are acutely aware that the concerns of members of the public by and large centre around criminal damage, juvenile nuisance and anti-social behaviour, so the fall in criminal damage is especially welcome.

“Hopefully the reduction in crime will in turn lead to an increase in public confidence in the Force.

“The Authority has made a commitment to providing the Force with 40 additional front-line officers and hopefully this will re-enforce the good work that is being done to tackle criminal activity in this county.”

NORTHAMPTONSHIRE WEST

In the south and west of the county, crime has fallen by 9.4 per cent over the last year.

This equates to 3,375 fewer victims of crime in the Northampton, Daventry and South Northamptonshire areas.

Significant reductions have been recorded in violence offences (12.2 per cent), commercial burglaries (17.4 per cent), theft from motor vehicles (11.5 per cent), theft of motor vehicles (14.5 per cent), vehicle interference (22 per cent), theft and handling (10.8 per cent) and criminal damage (10 per cent).

But increases have been recorded in sexual offences (9.5 per cent) and fraud and forgery (21.1 per cent).

Chief Superintendent Paul Phillips, Area Commander for Northamptonshire West, said: “I am really pleased with the crime reduction on this side of the county, with nearly 3,500 fewer victims of crime this year than last.

“The significant results are in relation to vehicle crime, with more than a 12 per cent reduction in vehicle crime in Daventry, Northampton and South Northants.

“We’ve continued to reduce street robbery offences. There were only a small number anyway, but we’ve seen a six per cent reduction in Northampton town, which amounts to 32 fewer victims.

“And violent crime has fallen by 10 per cent thanks to lots of partnership work around the night economy and initiatives focused on domestic abuse.

“Anti-social behaviour has continued to fall this year with more than 4,000 fewer incidents on this side of the county.

“A great deal of the credit for this goes to the Safer Community Teams who have provided greater visibility, reassurance and local knowledge.

“Our focus in the new policing year will be to continue to increase public confidence in the police service, continue to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour with our partners, and to seek feedback from the public as to what is important to them for us to work on and to respond to their needs.”

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60 Cars Seized

During the first two months of Operation Andover, 62 vehicles have been seized by officers for not being registered with the DVLA and for having been in the UK for longer than 6 months in a 12-month period.

Officers have spotted more than 294 foreign vehicles since the beginning of the year and have seized 62 since the beginning of February, averaging at one a day. Of these 294 vehicles, 147 can be seized straight away if they are spotted again, as they are known to have been in the country for more than 6 months.

Of the 62 vehicles seized to date, 39 have been collected, 12 have been scrapped and the remaining 10 are still pending.

Known criminals were using 10 per cent of the vehicles seized – three have been used in criminal activities in Northamptonshire in the last three months.

Officers are using a number of tactics to establish the length of time a foreign registered car has been in the country and once they know the vehicle has been in the UK for more than 6 months they will stop the driver and seize it.

The owner then has 14 days to register the vehicle with the DVLA, otherwise the vehicle faces being destroyed.

Three of the seized vehicles have now been registered with the DVLA.

PC David Lee, from the Operations Tactical Unit, who is leading the Operation, said: “Vehicles not registered with the DVLA are not traceable, so there is no way of checking if they are roadworthy, and it also makes life easy for people who want to commit crime as there is no way of tracing them.

“During 2008 across Northamptonshire there were more than 2,000 safety camera activations recorded for foreign vehicles that were unable to be pursued because the vehicle was not registered with the DVLA.

“These vehicles included HGVs, cars, vans and coaches, all of which could well have been unfit to be on the road, but there is no way of tracing them to find out. That is why this work is so important, it is about making sure the vehicles using our roads are safe.

“The onus is on the owner to make sure their vehicle is registered with the DVLA. Once a vehicle has been in the UK for more than six months, or the owner becomes a UK resident, it must be taxed, insured and go through an MOT if it is older than 3 years. If a car is not registered there is no way of finding out if it has been through an MOT and so potentially there are cars out on the road that are not roadworthy.”

The policy applies to any vehicles that have been in the UK for six months, whether that be spread over the course of 12 months or in one six month block.

The public can also play their part in tackling this issue. If they believe they know of a foreign national vehicle that has been in residence in the UK longer than six months and has not been registered with the DVLA, they are urged them to contact our Drivewatch hotline 0800 174615 or e-mail opandover@northants.police.uk

Northants Police Good at Turning Up for Work

OFFICERS and staff at Northamptonshire Police have posted some of the best attendance figures in the country.

The latest annual statistics show that the Force had the fifth highest attendance figures for officers and sixth highest for staff members across the whole of the UK.

And Northamptonshire Police finished top of the pile among its Most Similar Forces (MSF) – for both staff and officers.

The figures, which measure the 12-month period from December 2007 to December 2008, show that just 2.9 per cent of officers’ hours and 3.8 per cent of staff members’ hours were lost due to sickness.

The national average for officers was 3.8 per cent and that for staff members was 4.5 per cent.

Assistant Chief Constable Derek Talbot said: “We are proud that the Force has posted attendance figures that are amongst the best in the United Kingdom.

“This means that local communities are getting the maximum value for their tax contributions to policing.

“And the amount of time spent patrolling by our safer community teams is the best it has been for a long time.”

The news comes after it was revealed that Northamptonshire Police only lost six days as a result of officers being assaulted during 2007-8(Financial Year).