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Devon and Cornwall is the safest police force area in the country

Law-abiding residents have been thanked for the role they have played in making the Devon and Cornwall Police force area the safest in the country.

House burglary, down by nine per cent, is one of the highlights of today's figures

Data out today (Friday, July 17) shows there were 6,438 fewer crimes recorded by the force in the year to April 2020 than in the previous 12 months.

The reduction, reported by the Office for National Statistics, moves the force area up the rankings one place to make it the safest of 43 in England and Wales.

Alison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said she was pleased her police and crime plan had yielded results.

“Our police force deserves great credit for its work to keep people safe, but so do our communities, who are generally law abiding and look out for one another,” she said.

“Underpinning these superb figures is a huge amount of work in partnership with others to prevent crime, to protect people at risk of crime and to assist those who could be lead into a life of crime to find alternatives.

"Whether it is community safety partnerships working with young people to help them avoid exploitation, volunteers manning Community Speedwatch sites or people taking the time to look after their neighbours through Community Watch, there is so much good work going on.”

She said that most police calls had nothing to do with crime and this still remained a significant challenge for the force.

“Crime only accounts for 16% of the incidents reported to police,” she said. “In Devon and Cornwall our officers deal with more missing people and people suffering mental illness than most other force areas, and it is important that we recognise that.

“The work with others to ensure people get the help they need before a situation escalates to being a police matter is absolutely essential, and the focus of my efforts in terms of dealing with mental illness, road safety and a whole variety of other areas.

“To maintain our place as the safest force area it is essential that we continue to build force strength and drive forward the crime prevention initiatives that will build stronger, more connected and resilient communities.”

In the period April 2019 to March 2020, 100,529 crimes were recorded compared to 106,967 in the previous 12 months.

This moves Devon & Cornwall Police up one place in the league table to become the top-rated force. The previous quarter’s figures showed the force had the second lowest rate of recorded crime in the year to the end of December 2019. Victim-based crime is also the lowest in the country, with a fall of 6.9 per cent, from 92,594 to 86,170, resulting in 48.9 crimes per 1,000 people.

Vehicle offences dropped 19 per cent, shoplifting by 18.6 per cent with other theft down 19.6 per cent.

Burglary of dwellings decreased by 8.9 per cent and non-dwellings down 13.3 per cent.

Possession of weapons rose 13.3 per cent while possession of drugs rose 7.4 per cent.