Big Falls in Crime Figures – Drugs Are An Exception

The Office for National Statistics has today released the latest crime statistics which show that there has been an overall fall in the number of recorded crimes over the 12 month period from March 2020 to March 2021.

Within South Yorkshire most areas of crime have fallen over the 12 month period – some significantly – though with some exceptions.

There have been large decreases in theft (-32%), residential burglary (-25%), robbery (-24%) and knife crime (-19%). Other crimes including sexual offences and overall crime have also fallen.

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “The fall overall in many types of crime last year (April 2020 – March 2021) is very welcome, but we have to be careful comparing these figures with other years since this year was unusual due to the pandemic.

“I particularly welcome the fall in those crimes that people tell me they are most worried about – such as residential burglaries (-25%), sexual offences (-15%) and knife crime (-19%).

“However, there are two notable exceptions – the rise in drug offences (26%) and stalking and harassment (10%) and we will need a greater focus here going forward.

“The increase in drug offences may, however, not be all that it seems. It tells us that the extensive proactive work being undertaken by South Yorkshire Police to disrupt and tackle gang-related crime is bearing fruit. More crimes are being detected and more people are being prosecuted, and in many cases they are receiving lengthy prison sentences.

“In order to prevent these crimes I have invested funds into work that supports drug rehabilitation and prevention. We continue to work with partners to get people off drugs and we need to work with schools to ensure young people understand the risks.

“I am also concerned by the rise in forms of psychological violence – stalking, harassment – which often takes place online. Increasingly the police are having to keep us safe on the internet as well as the streets.

“Over the last couple of years I have been able to increase investment in South Yorkshire Police significantly for them to tackle crime.

“The ongoing recruitment of police officers is providing improvement across all areas, but significantly in our neighbourhood policing teams.”

The full report by the Office of National Statistics can be viewed here: