Thames Valley Police has today (3/5) issued crime statistics which cover the past twelve months.
The latest figures show that there were 138,710 crimes reported across Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire from 1 April 2016 until 31 March 2017.
This is a 7.2% increase to the previous year (2015/16) where there were 129,449 reported crimes within the same time frame.
The increase is reflected nationally (ONS Crime Survey of England and Wales¹), and is largely attributed to improvements in compliance with National Crime Recording Standards, following recommendations made by HMIC in 2014.
Overall crime levels in Thames Valley still remain low compared with five and ten years ago. There were 66,976 fewer crimes recorded in this timeframe compared with five years ago (205,686), and 8,357 fewer recorded offences compared with ten years ago (147,067).
The HMIC’s latest PEEL assessment² rated Thames Valley Police as good across all areas of policing (effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy), and victim satisfaction remains high at 88%, compared with the national average of 84%.
Following the release of the figures, Deputy Chief Constable John Campbell, said: “The reasons for variations in crime data from year to year can be complex. As often is the case some of this is down to changes in crime recording and how we capture that information. However there are some increases in crime types, as well as increased victim confidence in reporting certain types of offences.
“In particular, the increase of domestic incidents, hate crime and some sexual offences further demonstrates the growing confidence of victims to report offences. These areas of crime have been underreported for years and I trust these figures show that, as a force, we have been successful in giving victims the trust to come forward, knowing they will be treated with compassion and sensitivity. I would additionally say that anyone who believes they have been a victim of any of these crimes should please come forward and report them to us.
“Certain increases also reflect how proactive and successful our teams have been in targeting offending. Drugs and possession of weapons offences are cases in point. I am pleased to see that our crime prevention work and targeted operations, as well as the Stronghold campaign, are having an impact. We also continue to adapt to meet new and emerging challenges, such as cyber enabled crime and modern slavery.
“I am proud of the dedicated officers and staff within our force, who regularly go above and beyond the line of duty in order to protect our communities. As a force, we are determined to prevent crime, bring offenders to justice and protect the most vulnerable.”
Breakdown of the main crime categories:
The 2016/17 annual crime statistics for Thames Valley Police show:
- Recorded offences of violence against the person offences have risen by 7.9%. This category is broken down into four subcategories: homicide, violence with injury (which includes causing death or serious injury by dangerous or careless driving), violence without injury and harassment. Homicide has increased by 5.6% (18 reports in 2015/16 and 19 reports in 2016/17). Of the 19 recorded offences, six people have been imprisoned, nine people have been charged and two people have been arrested. Three of the recorded homicides are in relation to the deaths of three men at Didcot Power Station in February 2016. Please see notes to editors for further details⁴. Violence with injury offences have increased by 5.8% and violence without injury has increased by 8.8%. Harassment offences have increased by 12.7% (2,633 reports in 2015/16 and 2,968 reports in 2016/17).
The latest ONS figures show that Thames Valley is the fifth lowest in the country for violent crime (12.8 offences per 1000 population, compared with the national average of 19.3 per 1000 of the population).
- Sexual offences have increased by 4.2% over the past year (4,412 crimes in total). Recorded offences of rape have increased by 9.3% and non-rape sexual offences have increased by 1.6%. This rise is in line with a national increase and we believe it indicates a positive reflection of an increasing confidence of victims, who are coming forward to report offences, many of which are non-recent. This increase has been influenced by a number of high-profile historic cases in the media. Of the 4,412 offences that were recorded over this time period³, 13.1% of all non-rape sexual offences and 23.2% of all recorded rapes were reported to have taken place over five years ago. Whilst this increase in sexual offences is lower than in previous years, we still expect it to rise, and continue to work alongside partner agencies to encourage victims of rape and sexual abuse to come forward.
- Robbery of Personal Property has increased by 10.4%, however robbery of business property offences have decreased by 7.7%. Despite an overall increase of 7.6%, this is still a 56.2% decrease compared with 2006/07 figures and a 41.1% decrease compared to 2011/12 recorded offences.
- Burglary has increased by 9.1%. A proportion of these offences have taken place in specific areas within the Thames Valley. As a consequence, significant police activity and crime prevention strategies have taken place in these areas over the past few months in order to target these offences.
- Vehicle crime has increased by 10.6%. Similar to burglary, a proportion of these offences have taken place in specific areas within the Thames Valley. Proactive crime prevention activity has taken place within these areas to deter offenders and prevent offences.
- Arson has increased by 19.9%, with certain increases in specific areas. The increase is largely thought to be due to improvements in recording practices, combined with a greater willingness from the public to report offences. A large proportion of these offences are lower-level, such as bins being set alight.
- Trafficking of drugs offences have increased by 28.1%, which can be largely attributed to an increase in proactive police enforcement i.e. warrants and pre-planned operations to combat illegal drug activity across county lines. This has been a particular focus of Stronghold⁵, which is Thames Valley Police’s campaign to encourage working with communities to tackle serious and organised crime.
- Possession of weapons offences have increased by 19.8%. Similar to trafficking of drugs offences, possession of weapons are only recorded as a crime when officers catch someone committing the offence, unlike most offences where a crime is recorded on what the victim reports. Therefore an increase in these figures normally indicates an increase in police activity as opposed to an increase in actual crime. This increase is reflected nationally.
- Hate crime has increased overall by 8.1%. Racially or religiously aggravated crime has increased by 10%, racist incidents have increased by 11.2% and religious incidents have increased by 10.1%. Homophobic crimes have increased by 7.9%, transphobic incidents have decreased by 16.7% and disability incidents have decreased by 17.4%.
Throughout the past year, officers and staff supported National Hate Crime Awareness Week 2016 and we had our own campaign to raise awareness and understanding of hate crime within the force and in our communities. While there has been an overall increase in recorded hate crimes, we believe that many incidents still remain unreported. Thames Valley Police expect to see further increases within this category, as victims continue to gain confidence in coming forward and reporting offences to the police.
- Domestic abuse has risen by 3.3%. Domestic abuse is a priority for the force, and we continue to work closely with partner agencies to intervene at the earliest point. The #BehindClosedDoors campaign helped to raise awareness of domestic abuse and aimed to encourage victims not to suffer in silence.
The full crime summary, including a breakdown of Local Policing Area (LPA) statistics, can be viewed here: https://www.thamesvalley.police.uk/about-us/publications-and-documents/performance-figures/
Notes to editors:
Due to purdah restrictions in place, there will be no interview opportunities available at this time. However, interviews will be available following the general election in June. If you have any questions on the above statistics, please contact the Press Office on firstname.lastname@example.org
Local press releases at LPA-level are available on request. Please contact the Press Office.
Any victims that do require emotional or practical support to help them cope from the impact of the crime can find information and an appropriate local organisation by visiting the Police and Crime Commissioner’s new website www.victims-first.org.uk
³Crimes are recorded based on the date the crime was reported to the police, rather than the date on which the offence occurred. For the majority of crimes, the reported date and the occurrence date are the same. However sexual offences are the main crime type where there can be a large gap between the date the offence occurred and the date the offence was then reported to the police.
⁴The deaths of the four men is currently subject to an ongoing joint criminal investigation by Thames Valley Police and the HSE in line with the national Work Related Deaths Protocol. The presence of these in the national crime statistics does not in any way prejudge the outcome of this investigation. These crimes are recorded as such to comply with the requirements of National Crime Recording Standards and the Home Office Counting Rules so is standard practice at the commencement of an investigation such as this. Any adverse reporting may jeopardise and be prejudicial to the investigation.
Three of these with regard to Chris Huxtable, John Shaw and Ken Cresswell have been recorded in the statistics for 2016/2017. The death of the fourth man, Michael Collings, was recorded in 2015/16.
⁵Stronghold is Thames Valley Police making a commitment to seeing a reduction in levels of serious and organised crime in our region. Working closely with our partners in local authority, social services and the other emergency services, we aim to achieve better knowledge sharing and suitable resourcing to disrupt and prevent the work of organised crime gangs and provide safeguarding to the innocent victims caught up in the middle. Please see more here: https://www.thamesvalley.police.uk/news/campaigns/stronghold-fighting-organised-crime-partnership/
The data provided is taken from our crime recording system. This is a dynamic system. Additional information identified during the investigation may lead to a reassessment of the crime classification. Information held on the system is also subject to review to ensure compliance with the Home Office Counting Rules for Recording Crime and the National Crime Recording Standard. As a result of this crime levels and classifications may change over time and this data may not match data previously published or data published in the future. For this reason, the data should only be used as an indicator of crime trends.