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PCC says Devon and Cornwall force ‘must not be complacent’ as latest crime figures are released

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has said figures out today underline the importance of remaining vigilant in the fight against organised crime.

PCC says Devon and Cornwall force ‘must not be complacent’ as latest crime figures are released

The Office for National Statistics report for the 12 months to June this year shows that Devon and Cornwall is the fifth safest of 43 force areas in England and Wales.

The annual increase in total reported crime was also among the lowest, at 1.3% down from a 4% increase at the end of March 2019.

PCC Alison Hernandez said work to combat organised drug supply was reflected in the figures.

“Organised drug supply, including through so called ‘county line’ networks, remains one of the most significant risks we face in our communities,” she said. 

“Drug dealers coming from metropolitan areas bring with them weapons and violence and exploit vulnerable people to help them distribute drugs. 

“Devon and Cornwall Police is taking large scale action to combat this – we have invested over £5.5 million pounds in the last three years into new proactive policing teams and in dedicated operations to target specific county lines or organised crime groups. 

“The ongoing increases we are seeing in the number of crimes recorded for drug offences (up 13%) and the possession of weapons (up 15%) are a reflection of that concerted effort, although I recognise there remains more to be done.

She expressed concern at the 32% rise in robbery.

“While these increases are on relatively low base numbers, and should be seen in the context of our area being for one of the safest parts of the country, I am concerned about the continued rise in robberies and I am in discussion with the Chief Constable to better understand the issues we face and the response being taken,” she said.

“While I am pleased to see reductions in many areas of recorded crime we cannot and will not be complacent.  Crime levels remain a concern to me and to our communities and we must continue to do all we can to improve our response to all types of crime.  Recruitment of more officers is part of the solution so I am delighted that, in addition to a planned uplift in force strength, we will have an additional 141 officers added to the force through the first year of the national uplift.”

She said that further support was needed from the Government to recognise “exceptional challenges” in Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly due to tourism levels, rurality and isolation as a peninsula.  

“Despite our chocolate box image we are not immune from drug dealing and organised crime that has taken hold in the country at large,” she added.

The Devon and Cornwall force has more visitors to its area each year than any other outside London.  Last month the PCC submitted a bid to the Home Office for £17.9m to recognise these extreme pressures.