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Devon and Cornwall Police claim crime falling as national figures show a rise

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: January 25, 2013

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Concerns about "spin and presentation" were aired last night as Devon and Cornwall Police published figures showing crime was falling – at the same time as official statistics showed it to be the worst performing force in the country.

The Office for National Statistics yesterday released figures for the year up to September 2012 which revealed offences in the two counties had risen by 5% to 90,376 – the highest rate of any of the 43 forces in England and Wales.

But the force also proactively issued its own numbers yesterday – for April 2012 to January 2013 – which showed that crime had fallen by 5.5%.

Westcountry MPs questioned the force's timing saying it presented a confusing picture to the taxpaying public.

"Coincidentally, the force has put out figures, over a different period, which manage to present a more positive image than the ones from the official statisticians," St Ives Liberal Democrat MP Andrew George said.

"It undermines public confidence in the police if they are becoming more concerned about spin and presentation than proper operational management.

"What is most concerning is what appears to be a degree of cynicism on the part of the constabulary rather than a small fluctuation in the statistics."

Ben Bradshaw, Labour MP for Exeter, added: "It's vital that the public can have confidence in crime figures.

"Devon and Cornwall Police need to explain how their figure is so different from that of the independent Office of National Statistics."

The official figures, released every quarter, revealed Devon and Cornwall were one of only two forces nationally to suffer a rise in crime in the 12 months to September, the other being Wiltshire.

It followed a 6% rise in crime in Devon and Cornwall in 2011-12, which was double the rate of any other police force area.

In the year to September, violent crime rose 20% to 24,080 offences, fraud by 22% to 2,707 and "other crime" by 15% to 1,943. Dwelling burglary increased by 2% to 3,836 crimes although vehicle crime fell by 5% to 6,722 and criminal damage by 6% to 17,030. There was no increase, or decrease, in robbery.

Overall, crime in Avon and Somerset fell by 9% during the same period and in Dorset by 10%. The national average was a 7% drop.

In its press release, Devon and Cornwall Police provided figures for this financial year so far.

Compared to the same period in 2011-12, it said overall crime had fallen by 5.5% from 74,123 offences to 70,069.

Similarly robbery had dropped 20.4% to 335 and criminal damage to 1,781 – a fall of 12.1%. Domestic burglary dropped by nearly a quarter to 2,696 incidents. Assistant Chief Constable Chris Boarland, who is responsible for crime and criminal justice, denied there had been a change in PR tactics from the force to overshadow the ONS figures.

He said there was "no conspiracy" and "no deliberate spin" and that the force regularly published its crime figures on its website.

"My understanding is that we have published figures, good or bad, at the same time as the ONS," he said. "This is no different."

Mr Boarland said the figures were "right up to date" and would be reflected in future ONS releases.

He added: "Devon and Cornwall remains a safe place, but these latest figures from April 2012 show an encouraging drop as a result of the targeted work going on to reduce crime and the fear of crime.

"Devon and Cornwall Police aim to be the best rural, urban and coastal force in the country and these latest results show we are heading in the right direction.

"These results show how our staff are working with communities to make them safer.

"In the current financial climate we have to look at different ways of achieving our goals and working more effectively with less whilst keeping victims at the forefront of our plans.

"It isn't easy for any of our staff, but these results show a clear commitment to succeed."

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15 comments

  • Teignager  |  January 28 2013, 10:45AM

    The mere suggestion that less crime is committed now than in the past, is utterly laughable. When is a crime not a crime? When it's not classified as one statistically - doesn't mean the person committing it was not in the wrong. The trouble is, that because these idiots keep getting away with it, they think that they're entitled to commit offences.

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  • Tony_Olsson  |  January 26 2013, 11:21AM

    If you click on SidneyNuff's logo, you will see he writes nothing but ****. So why bother to argue with him? Would you argue with a dog **** on the pavement? No, of course not. So why bother with SidneyNuff?

  • omnivore23  |  January 26 2013, 12:49AM

    Hello Fillyboy I made no comment about whether public sector jobs are good or bad - simply picking up Sidney on yet another untruthful "fact" - in this case his claim that more than 50% of public sector jobs were created by the last labour government. People like Sidney like to post up their recycled gibbersh and then fall to bits and start calling anyone who calls them to task a "commie" - just like others who choose to call anyone that disagrees with their left-wing views a nazi - they are all morons. ....and thank you, yes I can "grasp" that public sector jobs are paid for by private sector taxes - it's not that hard if you know the basics of how governments work- and by the way - I have always paid tax and never worked in the public sector or claimed benefits. Really not sure what you mean by public sector jobs = bad and private sector jobs = good . It depends upon the job, surely? And Sidney - actually, never mind........

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  • SidneyNuff  |  January 25 2013, 11:48PM

    Omni is an old commie. He sees public sector jobs as saving mankind, and private sector jobs as working for the devil. He has been educated by the BBC.

    |   -4
  • fillyboy  |  January 25 2013, 11:24PM

    "(by omnivore23 Friday, January 25 2013, 5:32PM ."Sidney You would like a debate? - Great - let's go! Now I see you are very concerned about biased reporting by the BBC, I'm sure you will not want to deliberatley mislead readers with your claim that most (ie. over 50%) of public sector jobs were created by the last labour govt. In fact, A decade ago, there were 5,221,000 public sector employees. In 2009, there were 6,070,000 – an increase of 849,000. At the same time, the total number of private sector jobs went up from 21,895,000 to 22,806,000 – a jump of 911,000.)" Omnivore. Public sector jobs increasing by 849,000 = bad Private sector jobs increasing by 911,000 = good you see public sector jobs are in fact paid for by the private sector taxes, can you grasp that?

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  • omnivore23  |  January 25 2013, 7:31PM

    Very amusing - that joke was weak when someone first told it a hundred years age. Can you answer the challenge rather than resorting to lame "humour" ...or not. My guess is "not"

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  • SidneyNuff  |  January 25 2013, 6:58PM

    Statistics, torture them for long enough and they'll tell you anything. Government statistics on the other hand are just pure lies. Did you know that a recent report concluded that 68% of statistics are just made up on the spot with no research whatsoever.

    |   -6
  • omnivore23  |  January 25 2013, 5:32PM

    Sidney You would like a debate? - Great - let's go! Now I see you are very concerned about biased reporting by the BBC, I'm sure you will not want to deliberatley mislead readers with your claim that most (ie. over 50%) of public sector jobs were created by the last labour govt. In fact, A decade ago, there were 5,221,000 public sector employees. In 2009, there were 6,070,000 – an increase of 849,000. At the same time, the total number of private sector jobs went up from 21,895,000 to 22,806,000 – a jump of 911,000. So, your claim is not quite right - public sector jobs increased by around 17%, not, as you suggest, more than 50%. Over to you Sidney!

    |   4
  • SidneyNuff  |  January 25 2013, 1:48PM

    Public sector staff don't count, they are canon fodder. Most of the jobs they do aren't real jobs, they were just created by the last Labour government to keep unemployment dowm and drug addicts on the street. Also that was dealt with yesterday in a different story. However I'm up for it if you fancy a rumble commie.

    |   -3
  • Tony_Olsson  |  January 25 2013, 1:31PM

    On a slightly different tack, but still concerning spin and dubious statistics; what about the unemployment statistics? The Government is claiming the highest number of people in "work" and the lowest number out of work for years, yet we all know that many thousands have lost their jobs since the ConDems took office, much of that loss of jobs due to the Tory's sacking of public service staff, and the cutting of funds from central Government to local authorities. Add to that the many thousands in private businesses who have lost their jobs due to the Tories miss-management of the economy resulting in the closure of many businesses. And there is more to come, with another bout of sackings imminent from the armed forces, despite the fact that in an increasingly dangerous and unstable world, our Government has made us vulnerable to terrorist activity. With no aircraft carriers and our jump jets given away to America for use as spares, how do Cameron and Osborne et al, think we will cope if Argentina does invade the Falklands, and the Islamist situations in Africa, the Middle East and Asia gets out of control and leads the "free" world into WW2? Are they expecting to be able to solve it all by sending a few ICBMs with nuclear warheads to blast the trouble spots to Kingdom Come?

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