The Office of National Statistics, has today (Thursday 20 July) released crime statistics for forces across the UK.
Overall crime has increased in England and Wales by 11.1 per cent compared to a 7.5 per cent increase in Merseyside.
Statistics, for the year ending March 2017, show that the force has achieved a reduction in burglary, drug offences, vehicle crime and possession of offensive weapons offences.
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy said: “Recorded crime continues to rise and, while the increase has been less here than in other parts of the country, people will still be concerned.
“Increases in crime are worrying. Crime is increasing nationally In the context of years of government cuts to both the police budget and the budgets of other agencies who have a role in keeping our communities safe, such as the Youth Offending Teams, local authority crime prevention services and mental health provision.
“Merseyside Police have 1600 fewer officers, PCSOs and staff now than in 2010, yet demand for their services has not reduced. The police now have much greater recognition and understanding of hidden crimes such as domestic abuse, Child Sexual Exploitation and the criminal exploitation of children by organised gangs, on-line fraud & other internet enabled crimes. This improved knowledge is complemented by an increased confidence among victims to report these crimes. In addition, the demands placed on the police service by such emerging crimes, particularly those enabled by the internet, such as cyber-crime, fraud and grooming of vulnerable people, continues to grow at a rapid rate.
“I scrutinise the work of Merseyside Police and assess the progress they are making against the priorities I set and I am satisfied that the Force examines the threat, harm and risk to our communities more thoroughly than ever before. They are also working more efficiently; new technology and improved collaboration is making a difference and the commitment and dedication of the men and women who wear the uniform or support the front line is excellent.
“Ultimately, though, we need the government to appreciate our police service as much as our communities do and provide an investment of new money, a real growth in the budget, to enable Merseyside Police to deliver the services the public expect. Without this investment our police service will be forced to continue to operate under ever-increasing strain.”
Deputy Chief Constable Carl Foulkes said: “I want to reassure the public of Merseyside that as a Force we will always do what we can to prevent crime and protect our communities, but we also have many other priorities including combatting anti-social behaviour, dealing with vulnerable victims and targeting organised criminals, work that isn’t always represented in crime statistics.
“Although overall crime in Merseyside has gone up, this has been significantly less than the national average, and I am pleased to see a reduction in burglary, vehicle crime and drugs offences.
“There has been increases in the levels of recorded violent crime - in line with the majority of other forces who have recorded a rise - which is representative of the way in which violent offences of all classifications are now being recorded by Merseyside Police and does not reflect a genuine increase in non-domestic violence.
“The increase in reporting of sexual offences is in line with the national trend. As well as improvements in recording it also reflects a willingness of victims to come forward and evidence has shown that a number of high-profile national operations have changed the public perception of and confidence in reporting this type of crime.
“Offences of robbery have seen an increase, driven by personal robbery offences, but Merseyside Police has, and will continue to run, a number of operations aimed at combatting this and enhancing public safety and confidence.
“I am pleased to see that there has been an 8.4% reduction in non-domestic burglaries and that vehicle crime on Merseyside has seen a 1.7% per cent downturn compared to a national increase of 11.2 per cent in vehicle related theft.
“Everyone at Merseyside Police is absolutely committed to make every effort to reduce crimes of all types, while delivering an excellent policing service to the people of Merseyside.
“We continue to listen to the concerns of the public and are advancing our fight against serious and organised crime and supporting and protecting the most vulnerable members of our communities.
“Our officers are dedicated to responding to incidents with courage, courtesy and professionalism, which we hope will build upon strong public confidence to keep our communities safe. We recognise that we cannot be complacent and will continue to strive to find the most efficient and cost effective way to deliver policing in Merseyside.”