Big rise in crimes behind closed doors, says Yorkshire police chief

A change in the nature of crime means offences are increasingly happening behind closed doors rather than in public places, according to a senior Yorkshire police officer.

All four Yorkshire police forces recorded a rise in crime last year.
All four Yorkshire police forces recorded a rise in crime last year.

The claim by Assistant Chief Constable Andy McDyer of Humberside Police came as new figures revealed that recorded crime rose by 15 per cent in Yorkshire and the Humber last year.

The biggest rise was in West Yorkshire, which saw an increase of 24.5 per cent, including alarming rises in violent offences, though the force said these were largely due to changes in recording practices and the actual increase was only four per cent.

South Yorkshire and Humberside Police both saw rises of eight per cent in the 12 months to June, according to the Office for National Statistics, while North Yorkshire Police recorded a six per cent rise.

Nationally, violent crimes recorded by police have jumped to the highest level since a national standard for logging offences was rolled out 14 years ago.

Official statistics also revealed rises in the number of crimes involving firearms and knives registered by forces in England and Wales in the year to June.

Police recorded just over a million “violence against the person” offences in the period - a 24 per cent rise on the previous year, and the highest number recorded in a 12-month period since the introduction of the national crime recording standard in April 2002.

Statisticians said the trend was thought to largely reflect factors other than a rise in actual levels of violence - but there were “genuine” increases in some categories.

One factor was the inclusion in the category of two harassment offences, which include revenge pornography and internet trolling cases.

John Flatley, of the Office for National Statistics, said: “Violent crime covers a wide spectrum, from minor assaults, harassment and abuse that result in no physical harm to the victim, through to incidents of wounding and murder.”

He said the latest figures present a “complex picture”, with the Crime Survey for England and Wales estimating similar levels of violent crime to recent years but the number of offences recorded by the police increasing.

Responding to the Yorkshire figures, Mr McDyer of Humberside Police said: “The latest figures show us that crime is continuing to change with more offences happening behind closed doors, in private addresses rather than in public places.

“The increase in the numer of violence against the person offences is indicative of this with domestic assaults as well as non-physical violence such as online abuse and harassment making up the numbers.

“Here in Humberside we are tackling domestic abuse head on with a huge effort being made to ensure we deal effectively with this type of crime.

“It is the force’s number one priority and we have done extensive work both internally with our own staff and also externally to raise awareness among the public.

“We welcome the increase in domestic abuse reporting because it shows that victims are more confident in coming to us and believe we will deal with their complaint properly.”

West Yorkshire Police Temporary Deputy Chief Constable John Robins said the increase in recorded crime comes at a time when his force has seen an increase in the number of calls for service from the public. 

But Nick Smart, chairman of the West Yorkshire Police Federation said this explanation “does not explain the whole picture”.

He said: “Having lost 1,200 plus West Yorkshire police officers in five years, or 20 per cent of the police workforce, an increase in crime is also partly due to less officer visibility and deterrent.”

South Yorkshire Police saw an increase in several crime areas, though there was a decrease in house burglaries and burglaries at other places, bicycle theft and drug offences across the year.

There was a total of 37,130 crimes in North Yorkshire during the year, giving the county crime rate of 45.9 per 1,000 of the population, the second lowest in England.