Cumbria remains one of the safest places to live in England and Wales
End of year statistics have revealed that between 1 April 2022 and 31 March 2023, overall crime in Cumbria has risen by 4.7%, returning to pre-covid levels. However, anti-social behaviour has fallen by 23.6%, dropping to 4,922 reports from 6,445.
Cumbria Constabulary is one of the best performing forces in the country for call answering in relation to both 999 and 101 calls. The Constabulary ranked third in England and Wales, answering 91% of emergency calls in under 10 seconds and answering 91% of non-emergency calls in under five minutes.
Figures released at the end of July placed Cumbria as the best performing force in the country for percentage of 999 emergency calls answered within 10 seconds.
Arson and criminal damage also fell from 5,023 to 4,998 in the same time period. Cyber-crime fell by 10.3% from 2,362 to 2,118 with the largest proportion of cyber-crime offences being stalking and harassment offences which fell 9.5% from 1,405 to 1,271. However, the second highest offence was distributing indecent images of children which increased by 11.7% from 307 to 343.
The county saw a rise in offences with a female victim, also referred to as a violence against women and girls (VAWG) offence, by 1.9% from 11,033 to 11,241. The largest proportion of offences with a female victim were stalking and harassment offences which saw a small rise of 0.4% from 3,557 to 3,543. Sexual offences rose by 0.8% and violence against the person have increased by 0.6%.
The Police received an extra 47 reports in 22/23 in relation to public order offences and three extra reports for robbery. Drug offences rose by 18.6% and theft offences by 16%.
In terms of anti-social driving, killed or seriously injured (KSI) collisions increased 25.2% from 234 to 293 with a 21.7% increase in fatal collisions from 23 to 28. There was a 16.3% increase in very serious collisions from 43 to 50. Offences against a vehicle saw a rise in reports, increasing from 757 to 977 equating to a 29.1% increase.
Crime in rural locations increased by 5.2% to 13,711 from 13,032. Rural crime accounted for 35.3% of all crime reported in the county in 2022/23. The largest area of rural crime offences were criminal damage with 1,729 reports and theft with 1,462 reports.
Cumbria’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, said: “We always need to be careful when looking at statistics for performance as it is easy to both mislead and be mislead, for example given our numbers of actual crimes are generally very low but expressed as a percentage can appear worryingly high.
“The data on crime is important and particularly so for me, as I hold the police to account for performance on behalf of the public. With crime data it is often hard to determine whether or not there is more of a particular type of crime occurring or whether the police are simply being more effective at pursuing and charging criminals or indeed whether or not we the public have increased confidence to report crimes.
“For these reasons it is important in my view to publish the data with this context so that we can analyse it intelligently but more important, use it to target resource to ensure we are targeting criminals who cause the most harm to the public.
“It is true to say that crime levels dropped during the pandemic for the obvious reasons that we were mostly housebound and this has skewed the data, it is equally true to note that those committing crime have probably resumed their activity and crime rates are in the main returning to pre pandemic levels in many areas.
“Together with the Chief Constable and his team we will continue to monitor crime data carefully to pursue criminals and more importantly to try to deter and prevent crimes Before they occur.
“The Constabulary is performing well in many areas and very strongly in others but there is always more we can and must do to improve performance. The public will have noticed the re-introduction of dedicated Community Beat Officers across the county, and this is already demonstrating real improvement in a reduction in particular of Anti-Social Behaviour and I expect to see this trend continue and improve even further.
“We the public can help in this by passing any information we have about crime to the police; we can be there ‘eyes and ears’ and together we can keep Cumbria safe.
“Crime levels are returning to normal after COVID, and in line with national trends, our crime rate has risen by 4.7%. However, much of this increase can be offset by the reduction in ASB in Cumbria. This has fallen by 23.6% overall, due to better crime recording by the Constabulary when ASB meets the crime threshold it is being dealt with as a crime.
“This means that the victim gets a better response both in terms of a potential investigation and support.
“Crime outcomes are improving at just over 14% and there is certainly more to do in this area, but it is good that the trajectory is moving upwards.
“Overall, the Constabulary are doing a good job to tackle and prevent crime, but I would still urge the public to report any crimes to 999 and 101.”
Assistant Chief Constable Dave Stalker, Cumbria Constabulary, said: “After a drop in recorded crime during the onset of the pandemic, numbers have now returned to approximately the same levels as pre-pandemic.
“While any rise in crime obviously causes us concern, it is in line with a national increase – and also reflects a rise in some key offences where any increase shows the work we carry out and the messages we give out are having results.
“For instance, there has been a rise in sexual offences. These are offences that are typically under-reported and we are always calling for people to report these crimes. An increase in these offences shows people have increased confidence to come forward.
“There has also been an 18.6 per cent increase in drugs offences. Offences are reported when we catch drugs offenders – so this type of increase means we are catching more drug dealers and traffickers.
“What is pleasing to see in the end-of -financial-year figures is a large-scale drop in anti-social behaviour, with a reduction of 23.6 per cent.
“This is an issue that is of huge importance to our communities and to see the hard work carried out in your neighbourhoods result in figures like this is testament to the dedication of our officers and staff.
“Neighbourhood policing teams work closely with partners and our communities daily to tackle the issues impacting our communities, which has led to the reduction of anti-social behaviour in Cumbria.
“As well as responding and investigating anti-social behaviour, a great deal of work is carried out by our local policing teams to prevent incidents occurring.
“During the time covered by the figures, we have gone through a significant restructure to drive our performance, leading to proactivity and productivity increases in a number of key areas.
“There have also been changes to how we deal with certain offences.
“We ensure every residential burglary where a person’s home is entered is attended by a police officer and is allocated to detectives in our CID teams, so they get these officers’ specialist expertise from the outset.
“All robberies are investigated by a detective.
“During this time the figures cover, demand on the force continued to be significant.
“There were nearly 72,000 999 calls made into our command room; nearly 114,000 101 calls; we made more than 11,200 arrests; and attended more than 66,000 incidents.
“Cumbria Constabulary is among the best performing forces in the country for call answering times on both its emergency 999 calls and non-emergency 101 calls.
“We are also responding to calls quicker, ensuring we can capture evidence at a greater speed.
“All this is monitored and reviewed under our new governance structures.
“Our dedicated officers and staff work hard to ensure Cumbria remains one of the safest places to live in the country and the force remains one of the top performing forces.”