Gun crimes on the rise

PUBLISHED: 12:17 02 February 2006 | UPDATED: 09:32 06 May 2010

The latest crime statistics from the Home Office make depressing reading for Bedfordshire Constabulary. They highlight violent crime in the county increasing in the six months to September last year and the number of crimes where firearms have been used g

The latest crime statistics from the Home Office make depressing reading for Bedfordshire Constabulary.

They highlight violent crime in the county increasing in the six months to September last year and the number of crimes where firearms have been used going up.

There were also rises in robberies, murders, violence against the person and sex offences.

Bedfordshire Constabulary say the increased number of street robberies is responsible for inflating recorded crime figures, particularly in the south of the county.

While the force acknowledges the increase and is working actively to reduce it, they add it is also partly the result of more accurate recording of crime which was introduced in April last year.

The actual increase in the number of violent crimes committed in the county is up by only five incidents, the same figure as for incidents involving guns.

Robberies between April and December last year were up a staggering 30.8 per cent, up from 767 to 1,003 with the majority being in the south of the county.

Robberies peaked in the summer with threequarters being committed by and on school-age children who stole mobile phones or petty cash.

Commenting on the latest figures, deputy chief constable for Bedfordshire Martin Stuart said: "While historic figures such as these are a useful way of assessing performance, they can never truly reflect the hard work that goes on day in and day out in Bedfordshire.

"Of course we are always striving for excellence in what we do and clearly violent crime and the fear it causes people must be addressed."

l In Hertfordshire the only areas where there was a rise was in sexual offences, which were up nine per cent with the constabulary saying the figure was only high because more people are encouraged to report incidents. Gun crime increased by just one incident to 139 offences.

But down were robberies by 11 per cent, domestic burglaries 16 per cent, offences against a person causing injury nine per cent, violence against a person two per cent and theft from vehicles three per cent.

Hertfordshire chief constable Frank Whiteley said: "The figures are encouraging but we must not be complacent and will continue to work hard to drive down crime in Hertfordshire.

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