Chief Constable's update
Welcome to the Chief Constable's Update.
You can find out here a bit about what I have been doing recently, and contact me by email if you would like to make a brief comment or suggestion to improve our police force. Use the links on the left to find out more about Thames Valley Police or to find out about local policing in your area.
If you ask a group of people, ‘What are the police for?’ you will get a wide range of answers. Some will say that the role is about crime fighting, others will say that that it is a broader social role, others will say to provide a presence on the street which makes people feel safe. However everybody will agree that they would want there to be less crime.
In the three counties which are protected by Thames Valley Police there was 5% crime less last year than the year before. Overall we recorded 127,497 crimes – which is the lowest since 1989 the year when Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the world wide web. A long time ago!
Within the force we are focused on three crimes – burglary, violence and rape. That means that we set targets to both reduce and solve these crimes. The best results are for burglary. Last year there were 20% less burglaries than the year before – 5,668 victims in the Thames Valley. This is a 40 year low. We have achieved these reductions by working with the public and many other organisations to protect homes against burglary but we have also ensured that we catch more burglars. 20% of all burglaries are solved in the Thames Valley and while you might think that this should be higher it compares well with other forces and do remember that burglars work very hard to avoid capture. We want to send a strong message to burglars that you will be caught and if so go to prison for a long time.
Violent crime remained stable last year with 19,623 crimes reported but of these crimes 48% were solved which again is the best performance for many years. We were recently inspected by the police inspectorate and they judged that we give a good service to victims of domestic violence and this is really important – as well as solving the crimes.
The only area where recorded crime is increasing is sexual crime where crimes have risen from 1,995 to 2,618 in the last year. This is largely due I think to increased reporting because of national news coverage and greater confidence among victims to come forward to the police. We are determined to solve more of these type of crimes and last year 24% of rapes were solved which is again higher than previous years. The extent of child abuse and sexual exploitation continues to be a great concern. We have again put more resources in to child abuse in the coming year and it will continue to be a priority.
If the test of a police force is less crime then the officers and staff of Thames Valley Police passed that test last year and ensured that the great area in which we live is safer than it has been for many years.
Sara Thornton, Chief Constable