The ONS (Office of National Statistics) have confirmed that the area has the second lowest rate of overall crime and the lowest rate of victim-based crime. The news comes shortly after the Force was informed by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) that the Force had been formally discharged from concerns regarding the management of violent and sexual offenders (MOSOVO) in communities across Devon and Cornwall.
T/Deputy Chief Constable Dave Thorne said:
“It’s very satisfying to see our hard work is paying off. Our staff take great pride in the service they provide to their communities and I’m sure they’ll be very pleased to see the Force heading in the right direction. We know that there is still work to be done, but it shows that the Force is making good progress.”
The ONS figures measure 14 crime categories and the Force is ranked in the top three for six of them and in the top seven for three more.
Alison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, has responsibility for holding the Chief Constable to account for the delivery of an effective and efficient police force.
“I am particularly pleased to see in this set of figures that there have been significant reductions in drug and violent offences and the force has maintained its place as having some of the lowest recorded crime rates in the country.
“More work remains to be done to bear down on the issues which most matter to our communities and the force needs the support of those it serves in order to do this. A more visible and connected police force is the solution, that is why I have supported an increase in officer numbers to bring Devon & Cornwall Police to record strength and have put in place plans to reopen 18 police enquiry offices.
“I am pleased that the Government appears to have heard my calls for a fairer funding settlement for our rural and isolated police force and will continue to work towards greater investment in policing here.”
Like other forces around the country, Devon and Cornwall Police are dealing with the consequences of the ongoing cost of living crisis. This is reflected in the figures by a rise in theft and other acquisitive crime. For example, Devon and Cornwall has seen a rise in shoplifting offences but is still the second highest rated police area in the country for that crime type.
As well as the ONS figures and the HMICFRS news, the Force is continuing to improve its crime recording and call management.
The Force’s overall crime recording compliance stood at 87.8% in September 2023, an uplift of 7.5% since 2022 with the recording of violent crime showing an 11.6% improvement. Data from October suggest further improvements with early results indicating overall compliance at 91.2%. To help improve crime recording, the Force has delivered file quality training for staff and officers and will continue to roll out further system improvements and training this year.
The Force has made a significant improvement in answering emergency and non-emergency calls. 96.2% of 999 calls were answered within 10 seconds in December 2023. This is an improvement of 13.7% compared to December 2022 and well above the national target of 90%. In December 2023, 999 calls to the Force took an average of 3 seconds to be answered compared to 19 seconds in December 2022. In the last six months the number of 101 calls abandoned has decreased from 65.2% in June 2023 to 24.8% in December 2023 with this reduction covering the Force’s peak summer and Christmas/New Year periods.