Bedfordshire continues to become a safer place to live new figures reveal
Bedfordshire's outgoing Police Authority has welcomed the optimistic start made to 2012/13 which has seen crime levels continue to fall across many areas.
Chief Constable Alf Hitchcock told members that overall crime has continued to plummet 16% so far this year - on top of a highly successful 12 months which resulted in large reductions and dramatic improvements in the force's national rankings in most major crime categories.
Since April, domestic burglary - a key priority in the force's Policing Plan because of the importance placed on it by the public in Bedfordshire – has dropped 12% which is an exceptional achievement on the back of the 20% reduction achieved last year. Meanwhile, robbery has fallen by 10%, vehicle crime by 17%, violence against the person by 19% and most serious violence by 30%.
The continued success is partly due to changes in the way the force is focusing on and investigating crime. Members have been told the Integrated Offender Management Scheme is providing an increasingly powerful system of monitoring the most prolific offenders and encouraging a co-ordinated approach between local agencies to have the optimum effect on re-offending rates. Meanwhile, changes to the way in which the control room operates including the introduction of a new appointment system for non-emergency appointments is bringing significant benefits to resource management. This initiative enables police officers to meet victims and witnesses at times convenient to them to resolve non-urgent issues.
The Force and Authority has also focused heavily on anti-social behaviour, recognising its impact on the quality of life in our communities and the role it plays in the public's perception of safety. A new pilot is currently taking place in Luton which is aimed at delivering further positive results and improving the experience of members of the public reporting these offences.
Peter Conniff, chairman of Bedfordshire Police Authority, said: "The progress made so far this year is extremely positive and reassures this Authority that the raft of changes introduced to streamline the way the force operates as a result of financial pressures are delivering impressive results. It is only by achieving these improvements to the public's outcomes, through reduced crime and more detections, whilst cutting costs that we can be confident that the policing service in Bedfordshire will be valued by our communities.
"However, we are never complacent when it comes to performance, especially when we are talking about figures that have been recorded very early in the year, and will continue to play our part in monitoring crime levels and detection results to improve standards further to ensure the incoming Police and Crime Commissioner has the best possible platform to build on for future success."
Chief Constable Alf Hitchcock added: "I'm delighted that crime has continued to fall but this isn't really about numbers and statistics, it's about Bedfordshire residents not coming home to find they have been burgled or the windows of their car smashed. All our staff have worked hard, along with the other agencies that we work alongside, to achieve this. I'm particularly pleased considering we've had some big challenges to face in the last 12 months, and will continue to face them as we strive to improve even more in the next six months."
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