Crime levels return to normal and recorded crime at all time high due to improved practices
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Post-Covid Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland’s crime levels have returned to normal and data shows recorded crime has increased by 16 per cent.
Today the Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows the crimes recorded across all forces during the year April 2021 to March 2022 compared with the previous year.
And analysis of the data shows an increase in some offences recorded by Leicestershire Police – including violence – while in relation to other offences, including thefts, robberies and burglaries, there have been recorded decreases.
Rises in recorded crime are attributed to changes in recording practices such as violence against the person offences whereby all common assaults are now reviewed and often re-classified as actual bodily harm. In addition, over 2000 police officers have had data integrity training to improve upon crime classification. Improvements in data integrity are also attributed to the Dedicated Decision Makers (DDMs) who review crime classification and have been in place at Leicestershire police since 2019.
In 2021-22 there were 39,565 ‘violence against a person’ crimes recorded by Leicestershire Police. This is an increase of 16 per cent from the previous year. Analysis shows that the majority of these offences do relate to a low-level injury offence, for example a scratch or a bruise being caused.
March 2022 saw the highest level of crimes reported in a month. The 9,038 reported offences being the highest seen in ten years.
Assistant Chief Constable Kerry Smith said: “We are aware that our improved recording of crime has an impact on these figures but it still remains fact that violent offences are not acceptable and we continue to do everything we can do to tackle this.
We also continue to develop initiatives such as our Lives Not Knives campaign and the Violence Reduction Network, working with communities and partner agencies to fight violence and to raise awareness of the impact which these crimes have.”
Sexual offences reporting has also increased by 29 per cent during the reporting period.
ACC Smith said: “Whilst it is hard to see these increases, we are pleased to see the increase in reported sexual crime. We are doing everything we can to improve victim experience and successful prosecution and we want victims to feel confident that they can report the crime and therefore we have a true reflection of the level of sexual offences that are taking place.
“We are continuing to look at where we can improve in this area and continue to encourage victims to come forward and have confidence in the police.”
Among the decreases shown in the data is a decrease in robbery offences of five percent which equates to 35 less robbery offences recorded during 2021-22. Vehicle crime was also down by two percent and burglary by six per cent.
ACC Smith said: “Although we are seeing a decrease in robbery offences this does not mean we are complacent. We understand the impact that these offences have on communities that should feel safe so we continue to arrest and prosecute offenders.
The past few months have seen a number of successful arrests, charges and convictions in court following dedicated investigations carried out by officers and staff which we publish each month on our website – we want the public to see where our efforts are focussed and how we keep communities safe.”
Rupert Matthews, Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “I am confident that improved crime recording is reflected in these figures showing a rise in recorded crime by police. It is my job to hold the Chief Constable to account on these matters but improvements that have been made do have to be seen as a good thing even if it means the figures are increasing. This was reflected in the recent report by HMICFRS where Leicestershire Police were shown to be outstanding in several categories including crime recording.
“It is also good to see that burglary and vehicle crime are decreasing. I know how affected a victim can be and how important it is that we do not lose focus on these areas.
“Violent and sexual crime still remain a huge challenge for policing. We are doing lots of work with the Violence Reduction Unit and other areas to ensure that the police continue to dedicate resources in these areas.”