Norfolk’s PCC responds to latest crime statistics
Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) has responded to the latest release of crime statistics data for all forces in England and Wales from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).
The statistics published on Thursday 19 October, cover the 12-month period to June 2023 and show crime in Norfolk has decreased during this period by 6% (69,262 offences to 65,115).
The latest decrease is bigger than the 2.9% fall shown during the last release of data in July 2023, however, Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Giles Orpen-Smellie is keen not to be complacent: “Where we have seen a dramatic drop in some crimes, such as stalking and harassment, down by 21.9%, and public order offences, down by 18.3%, we must not lose sight of the fact that there were 7,995 incidents of stalking and harassment and 6,712 public order offences up to June of 2023 – still too many. Preventative measures must continue to deter these types of crime happening in the first place.
“One area I am very eager to address is the significant rise in shoplifting which has seen an increase of 25.8%.
“I recently met with some of the county’s retailers to listen to their concerns about the rise in retail crime and the impact it has had on their businesses. In the year ending June 2022, there were 3,331 reported incidents of shoplifting and over the past year, up to June 2023, that number has increased to 4,185.
“Although this number is still below pre-pandemic levels, I suspect this isn’t a true reflection of effects on the ground. Speaking with local retailers, it became clear that not all cases of shoplifting were being reported.”
Mr Orpen-Smellie added: “I would emphasise, ‘report, report, report’, because what the Constabulary doesn’t know, they can’t deal with and, at the moment, Norfolk Constabulary are identifying suspects in 37.1% of all reported shoplifting incidents. They have the highest identified rate of detection among the 43 forces in England and Wales and that will get better with this new system.
“I would also encourage retailers to attend their local Safer Neighbourhood Action Panel (SNAP) meetings. These meetings are where communities agree local policing priorities and as a result of which the police can assess how best to allocate resources to different crime types. At present, the retail community is very rarely represented at these meetings.
“Norfolk Constabulary has recently introduced a new Digital Asset Management System (DAMS) which will help retailers by streamlining the process of sharing CCTV footage. The new system will allow retailers to upload footage online thus saving time for both the retailer and the officer dealing with the case.”
Another steep rise has been the possession of weapons, this time by 18.6% from 429 to 529.
Mr Orpen-Smellie said: “Knife crime came up in my PCC Accountability Meeting last week. While the possession of weapons has seen an increase of 18.6%, Norfolk does not experience the issues that more urban counties are currently having to contend with. If one compares road fatalities of which there were 39 last year with two homicides, it shows that Norfolk is a relatively safe county.
“What we must ensure is that the increased numbers of people carrying knives does not translate into tragedies of increased numbers of potentially fatal stabbings. That means working with those likely to carry knives to persuade them that they would actually be safer if they did not do so.”
The release of the ONS data comes as the PCC publishes Norfolk Constabulary’s **National Crime and Policing Measures statistics for the 12 months leading up to the end of June 2023.
These figures show a 20% increase in all Violence With Injury (compared with the 2019 baseline set by the Government) and a 0% decrease when compared to the previous 12 months. Domestic abuse accounts for 34% of all violence with injury incidents.
To address this, the Constabulary has developed its own strategy and actions to improve the local policing response to violence against women and girls (VAWG). The measures will assist the Constabulary to track key crime types within this work area to maintain an oversight as to how activity is affecting the reporting and investigation work being undertaken. The intention is that through building the confidence of women and girls around the police response, through pursuing those who would do them harm, and by providing safe spaces to live and work, the Constabulary will bring about reductions in violence and increased feelings of safety.
The secretariat for the Serious Violence Duty, which commenced on 31st January 2023, is now embedded within the PCC’s office in order to coordinate activity with the police and other partners on the ground. The requirements of this duty include, community engagement and mapping local provision.
** The Home Office has developed National Crime and Policing Outcomes under six priority areas which have accompanying measures to help focus effort on key national priorities and measure performance. As part of the Specified Information Order every Police and Crime Commissioner is legally required to publish performance on these measures.