Crime falls in Comet Country

BOTH police forces covering Comet country had cause to celebrate when the Home Office issued the latest crime statistics for England and Wales. Across the area crime continues to fall with over 14,000 fewer crimes between April and December last year in H

BOTH police forces covering Comet country had cause to celebrate when the Home Office issued the latest crime statistics for England and Wales.

Across the area crime continues to fall with over 14,000 fewer crimes between April and December last year in Herts and Beds compared to 2006.

Herts recorded the largest fall of 9,749 which reflected a 12.67 per cent fall in crime from the previous year.

Robbery in the county fell by 24.7 per cent and violent crime was down 22.5 per cent.

In Beds reported crimes dropped by almost 5,000, a clear sign Bedfordshire police is losing its label of being the worst performing constabulary in England and Wales.

Crime detection in Bedfordshire was up from 20 per cent in 2006 to 21.5 per cent last year.

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Herts chief constable Frank Whiteley said: "These figures should reassure people that serious crime is rare in Hertfordshire.

"However, this does not mean we underestimate the shocking impact such crimes can have on our communities. We work hard to prevent such crimes from occurring and, if they do, we have a good record at catching and convicting the offenders."

Chairman of Hertfordshire Police Authority Ian Laidlaw-Dickson commented: "The fear of crime in the county far exceeds the real risk of crime and these figures should go a long way to increasing people's feelings of safety.

"Despite the low levels, serious violent crime will remain one of the constabulary's top priorities in the coming year, alongside a strong focus on protecting the more vulnerable people in the county."

Bedfordshire Constabulary assistant chief constable Katherine Govier said: "After a very challenging 2006 the force realised dramatic changes were required.

"Since April last year a tremendous amount of work has been done and hopefully we are all starting to see the benefits."

During the past year the constabulary has instigated the crime prevention improvement service plan designed to detect more offences. It embodies a whole raft of initiatives including police operations aimed at specific crime areas such as house burglaries.

The Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire major crime unit, which investigates serious crime in both counties, has also significantly helped the Beds force by reducing the abstraction of local officers to carry out inquiries into serious crime like murder and armed robberies.

ACC Govier, who is responsible for leading the fight to drive down crime in Beds, added: "Some of the measures being put in place to help turn performance around in Bedfordshire has resulted in a reduction of nearly 5,000 fewer crimes but we know we must sustain that reduction.

"Our plan may have seen a dramatic turnaround in our crime figures in the last three months of 2007 but we are not complacent. There is still a lot to do. At least we are starting to see the numbers going in the right direction.

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