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Wednesday, 01 October 2014

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Crime rises but Cumbria still very safe, say police

Police chiefs have insisted Cumbria is still “very safe” after crime went up by nearly five per cent.

Michelle Skeer photo
Michelle Skeer

Senior officers pointed to a bigger picture showing a large drop in offences when looked at over a longer four-year period.

They also said force tactics on tackling trouble outside pubs and clubs had partly led to a rise in reports of low level violence, with officers intervening early when problems flare to stop people getting hurt.

A rise in the number of domestic abuse incidents –– something officers have always encouraged as it is believed to be an under-reported crime – has also contributed.

Force chiefs were speaking as Cumbria’s crime commissioner Richard Rhodes examined the figures at a top-level meeting.

The total number of overall crimes in the 12 months up to April was 23,986, compared to 22,931 in the previous financial year.

This was a rise of 4.8 per cent.

Assistant Chief Constable Michelle Skeer said: “After seeing year-on-year reductions in overall crime we have finished the year with a 4.8 per cent increase.

“We need to view this in the context of a reduction of 13.8 per cent since 09/10.

“Cumbria still has the second lowest number of crimes in the country.

“It is still a very safe place to live, work and visit.”

Police analysis puts more than half of the rise down to an increase in the crime category of violence without injury – when people issue verbal abuse, use threatening behaviour or carry out assaults where nobody is hurt.

“We have had an extra 274 domestic-related incidents,” said Mrs Skeer.

She added a rise could be viewed as positive “because we have done an awful lot of work to raise awareness of domestic abuse.”

Mrs Skeer said police methods outside nightlife centres were also behind some of the rise in violence without injury, saying it was better to “intervene when it is a verbal argument rather than something escalating”.

There has been a drop in antisocial behaviour, which was down by 7.4 per cent, and the force’s detection rate has improved.

The figures were examined at a meeting of the commissioner’s executive board, which includes police chiefs.

It was held at the force’s Carleton Hall headquarters, near Penrith,on Wednesday.

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