The Office of National Statistics (ONS) yesterday, Thursday 23rd April 2020, released crime statistics for all police forces across the UK.
These statistics show Merseyside Police has seen an increase in overall crime of 0.5% (695 more offences) during the period of 01/01/2019 to 31/12/2019 which is lower than the 3% increase seen nationally.
In addition to this, the statistics also revealed burglary offences have decreased by 18.9%, resulting in 2,102 less burglaries force wide, doubling the national 7.7% decrease whilst robbery has also seen a 5.8% decrease (85 less offences) compared to a national increase of 8.8%. Vehicle crime has also decreased by 12.9% (1,340 less offences) which is far greater than the national 0.1% decrease.
Responding to the findings, Deputy Chief Constable Serena Kennedy said: “I am pleased to see that there has been a decrease in some crime types in Merseyside in the past year.
“Burglary is an offence that can have a huge impact on victims in our communities, and it is pleasing to see that the force’s efforts in this area, including a focussed activity under Operation Castle, which has resulted in 2,102 less burglaries being committed this year.
“These statistics show the excellent work of all officers and staff who remain committed in putting the public first, doing everything they can to prevent and detect crime in Merseyside and I hope to see future decreases in these and other crime types during 2020.”
Despite Merseyside having the fifth lowest rate increase for ‘violence with injury’ compared to our most similar forces, statistics also highlighted an 8.1% increase in violence (3,556 more offences) in Merseyside, a 2.7% increase in violence with injury (387 more offences) and a 10.8% increase in violence without injury (3,166 more offences). Nationally, there has also been a 9% increase compared to the previous year.
DCC Kennedy continued: “We have analysed the increased levels of violent crime which can be attributed to our continued improvement in recording crime as well as incidents where, although violence has been used, it has resulted in either a minor injury or no injury at all.
“Saying this, we remain realistic about the issues we face. Alongside the Home Office, we continue to invest in proactive methods of policing including the launch of ‘Op Target’, to help tackle serious and violent crime including knife and gun crime, and we are already seeing great results in the number of those arrested and charged as well as weapons recovered and proactive opportunities, carrying out warrants and engaging with the public where possible.”
Since the launch of Op Target in July last year, we have carried out 3085 stop searches, over 1200 open land searches, recovered over 1100 knives and other weapons and arrested over 450 people for knife crime offences (not including possession of a bladed article).
During our dedicated Op Sceptre week alone, designed to specifically crack down on those involved in knife crime, we conducted a further 62 open land searches where we have recovered 5 knives and 1 bladed article, carried out 56 stop searches where we have also recovered 7 knives, 3 offensive weapons and 1 bladed article and arrested 23 people.
We have also seen a 55% decrease in knife related homicides last year (from 9 in 2018 to 4 in 2019), however this figure is still far too many.
Additionally work continues to protect the public against gang related activity and we are pleased that over the past two years we have successfully obtained gang injunctions against 29 people (across 8 different gangs). 13 of these have been breached (relating to 40 separate breach proceedings) which has consequently resulted in 1110 days of immediate imprisonment. A further 218 days of imprisonment are currently suspended against three gang members. Earlier this year, the first gang injunction was also obtained against a juvenile.
The newly formed Violence Reduction Partnership (VRP), set up in the summer of 2019 with Home Office funding of £3.37m, also provides us with the opportunity to work with our partners who fund great initiatives to further reduce serious violence for young people in all five boroughs of Merseyside.
In terms of sexual offences, here in Merseyside, we have seen a small increase in reported crimes (2.4% rise compared with 1.7% rise in England and Wales).
DCC Kennedy explained: “We believe that this increase can be attributed to victims feeling more confident in coming forward, enabling us to take the necessary action against offenders.
"Our specialist Unity Team are dedicated to investigating and supporting victims from the initial report of the incident through to the end process, maximising the best possible chance of conviction.
"As well as specialist police officers, the team also includes lawyers, Sexual Offences Investigative Techniques (SOIT) officers, and detectives. The team work in partnership with Independent Sexual Violence advisors (ISVAs), Sexual Assault Referral Centre Crisis Workers (SARCs) and health professionals to provide the best possible joined-up service to every victim.
"That said, there is still work to do to encourage more victims to come forward and ultimately increase the number of offenders prosecuted.
"We continue to listen to the concerns of our communities, at a hugely uncertain time when we are all adapting to a new ‘normal’, crime is becoming more diverse and offenders are using more modern techniques to commit crime. We must remain ahead of the game, therefore I would encourage the public to continue speaking to us, reporting suspicious activity and allowing us to use our variety of investigative tools to bring offenders to justice.”