PCC responds to latest ONS crime statistics

On Friday 17 July 2020, the Office for National Statistics released their quarterly crime statistics for police forces across the country.

South Yorkshire Police received their crime statistics which cover the period shortly before the country went into lockdown measures due to Covid-19.

In response to the crime statistics Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings said:

“These statistics are for the year ending on 31 March 2020. They give a snapshot in time but do not necessarily indicate long term trends. We need to be cautious when interpreting them.

“There are some pleasing result and some concerning issues.

“The 30% increase in drug offences is not what it may seem. It means that the police have been very active disrupting the activities of criminal gangs dealing drugs with more arrests. The result is that they have recorded more crimes. This is the paradox of these figures: the more the police do to take drugs and drug dealers off the streets, the more the statistics will show increases in recorded crimes.

“Similarly, the increase in sexual offences of 6% is probably a reflection of the fact that more people have the confidence to come forward ad report crimes against them.

“I particularly welcome the fact that knife and sharp instrument offences are down by 6%, and this contrasts with an increase of 6% across the rest of the country. The police and local communities have worked hard to stop knife crime and the partnership approach is beginning to show solid results.

“However, while it is good that the police have taken more weapons off the streets, it is unsettling that the figures for possession of weapons has gone up by 11% – far more than in the country as a whole – 2%. This is clearly an area where we will look for a continuation of police activity around organised criminal gangs.

“Although residential burglary is down by 3%, I know that this is an area that concerns many people across the county. It is an intrusive and disturbing crime and we need to ensure that this becomes a downward trend year on year.

“Overall crime has slightly increased by 1%, and this is in line with the figured for the country as a whole.

“The statistics for this year indicate that South Yorkshire Police is making steady progress in some key areas, but the advent of Covid-19 has meant that the police have had to be very adaptive as criminals have changed their methods and this will be reflected in next year’s figures.”