Crime up in Beds while Herts continues to fall

Crime in Hertfordshire has fallen year-on-year but Bedfordshire has become a more dangerous place to live, figures released this week reveal.

In the 12 months to June, overall recorded crime in Herts was 65,734, down four per cent on the same period the year before, while in Beds it was up two per cent at 43,334.

The national statistics published by the Home Office show the majority of crimes in Herts are down, including house burglary, vehicle crime and robbery, but there were increases in reports of burglary of non-residential properties, up 13 per cent, and drug offences, up six per cent.

The figures show that across the main crime types the county had 60 recorded offences per 1,000 people, compared to a national average of 75.

In North Herts, there were 177 fewer crimes overall, down 4.6 per cent on the same period last year, and 345 fewer in Stevenage, a fall of 8.9 per cent.

Herts chief constable Andy Bliss said the figures are encouraging. “Especially as these sustained crime reductions have been achieved against a backdrop of financial challenges. As well as thanking my officers, staff and specials, I would also like to thank our partners and the public for their continuing support in our efforts to drive down crime in the county.”

David Lloyd, chairman of Herts Police Authority, said the figures show the county is one of the safest in the country, adding that the authority would continue to monitor the constabulary’s performance to ensure resources are used effectively.

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In Beds, figures almost across the board were up, including recorded incidents of all types of violence, robbery, all burglary, theft, fraud and drug offences. Only vehicle crime, sexual offences, criminal damage and ‘other offences’ were down.

Beds Police chief constable Alf Hitchcock said the force has “radically improved” its performance over the last six months as a result of a series of structural and strategic changes.

Commenting on the figures for the last quarter to June, he added: “Looking closely at the statistics they show overall crime rates in Bedfordshire per 1000 population are lower than the national average, demonstrating our commitment to fighting crime and protecting the public is working. Other recent successes, allbeit not reflected in the historic crime figures published, include a large reduction in house burglary (18 per cent) compared with the same time last year, which equates to three burglary victims less per day. We have also seen a distinct rise in detection rates for offences of robbery, burglary and vehicle crime. In addition, the force saw a sizeable reduction in offences relating to vehicles (ten per cent), and criminal damage reduced by four per cent.

“I am pleased that the hard work and commitment by everyone within Bedfordshire Police is now really making a difference but we are not complacent and will continue with our tremendous efforts to reduce offending further in line with our core mission of fighting crime and protecting the public. I believe with continued support from the public in the fast reporting of crimes or suspicious activity and by continuing to work with our partners through a range of programs and increased resilience gained via collaboration we are well set to continue to improve our performance over the coming months.”

Public perception of police performance in both counties shows only around half of residents asked “strongly agree or tend to agree” that “police deal with local concerns”. In Beds it was only 54 per cent and in Herts 61 per cent. The average in England and Wales is 59 per cent.