West Norfolk crime level rising slower than county’s, figures suggest

Simon Bailey, nominated Chief Constable for Norfolk
Simon Bailey, nominated Chief Constable for Norfolk
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Crime is rising in West Norfolk, but much more slowly than at county or national levels, new figures have suggested.

Latest data published by the Norfolk force on Thursday showed overall crime across the county, excluding fraud, was up 12 per cent in the year to last September.

But online crime mapping data for West Norfolk’s neighbourhood areas shows overall crime in the borough was up just 1.1 per cent over the same period, compared to the previous year.

And government figures suggest the county remains one of the safest areas in the country.

Across Norfolk as a whole, crime, excluding fraud, rose by 12.1 per cent in the year to the end of September, compared to the previous year, well above the national average increase of 6.4 per cent.

But several areas in West Norfolk have bucked the rising trend, with crime in the South and West Lynn falling by around 16 per cent.

Drops of 4.3 per cent and 1.5 per cent have been recorded in the Watlington and Hunstanton and Burnham neighbourhood areas respectively.

Offences were up 2.5 per cent in the Lynn North area, which covers the town centre and 2.4 per cent in the Gaywood, Fairstead and Reffley area, while levels in the Terrington and Dersingham and Gayton neighbourhood areas were up by less than one per cent.

But a 9.5 per cent rise recorded in the Woottons equated to just 16 additional crimes during the whole year.

Elsewhere, crime was up by almost six per cent in the Fakenham area and more than 14 per cent in the Swaffham area.

But, despite the county-wide increase, latest Home Office statistics around 53 crimes are committed per 1,000 people in Norfolk, meaning the county still remains among the top 15 safest in the country.

And the force’s chief constable, Simon Bailey, said the increase in the county’s overall crime levels had been expected.

He said: “In part, it is because we continue to have an even tighter focus on crime data integrity and secondly because more crimes are being reported, particularly those involving the most vulnerable.

“I view this as a positive endorsement of our priorities and our focus on vulnerability.”

“We are working more closely than ever with partners in Children’s Services, Adult Services and Public Health, which means we are able to capture incidents which previously may not have reached our attention so quickly.

“I also believe that the figures demonstrate that, more so than ever before, victims of crime feel confident reporting crimes to us.”

Some of the largest increases in terms of the types of crime recorded in the county are in sexual offences, which rose by 39 per cent, public order offences which were up around 30 per cent and violent crime, which was up by 24 per cent.

But, although house break-ins rose slightly, the overall total of burglaries fell by around three per cent.

The figures were issued during the final few days of a public consultation launched by the county’s police and crime commissioner, Stephen Bett, on whether the portion of the council tax which goes towards police services should be increased or not.

During a public meeting held in Lynn last week, Mr Bailey said an increase would enable him to invest more money in areas of growing demand, such as the investigation of domestic violence and child sexual abuse cases.

But he admitted that the force would still have to make savings even if a tax increase is implemented, though cuts would be much more severe without it.

Residents have until this Friday to have their say on whether the charge should increase by just under two cent, adding around £4 to an average council tax bill, or be frozen.

Comments can be made by phoning 01953 424455, emailing opccn@norfolk.pnn.police.uk or visiting www.norfolk-pcc.gov.uk/news/ct-increase-survey.