North Yorkshire remains safest place in England and Wales after crime rates fell 13% in 2020

North Yorkshire is the only police force area in the country that had a crime rate below 50 per 1,000 population in 2020, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Overall crime rates dropped in North Yorkshire in 2020
Overall crime rates dropped in North Yorkshire in 2020

The report shows the crime rate stood at just 49.9 per 1,000 people last year – the lowest rate in the country, and far below the national rate of 80.8.

Overall, total recorded crime in North Yorkshire and York fell by 13 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019. Across England and Wales, it dropped ten per cent.

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According to the “Crime in England and Wales: year ending December 2020” report, there were significant fluctuations in the level of crime throughout 2020.

North Yorkshire Police attributed the majority of these fluctuations to the introduction and easing of national lockdown restrictions.

Sexual offences decreased by 18 per cent across North Yorkshire during the year, while robbery dropped by 12 per cent.

Overall, theft offences decreased by 31 per cent, which included a 35 per cent fall in burglary, and criminal damage and arson dropped by nine per cent

Violence against the person decreased by two per cent in North Yorkshire, although there was a 17 per cent increase in stalking and harassment.

This increase can be attributed in part to victims having increased confidence in reporting it, as well as changes to recording requirements, North Yorkshire Police noted.

Other crime types that increased in 2020 included drug offences (11 per cent), possession of weapons (28 per cent), and public order offences (12 per cent).

Chief Constable Lisa Winward, of North Yorkshire Police, said: “2020 was an extremely challenging year, but exceptional situations call for an exceptional response – and officers, staff and volunteers across the force have shown a level of commitment, professionalism and diligence that is nothing short of incredible.

“Clearly, national lockdown restrictions had a significant effect on levels of crime throughout last year, but it’s encouraging to know that our area remains the safest place in the country.

“We couldn’t have achieved this without the confidence of the people we serve, and I’m so grateful that our communities have been overwhelmingly supportive of our work during these difficult times.

Chief Constable Winward noted that levels of crime will “very likely” fluctuate as national restrictions ease.

North Yorkshire Police Fire and Crime Commissioner Philip Allott said: “These figures confirm that North Yorkshire and York remains the safest place in England and Wales and I thank our police officers and staff for their efforts in such challenging times to ensure that record continues.”

While he welcomed the reduction in overall crime, Mr Allott vowed to prioritise tackling stalking and harassment and drug offences, all of which increased in the region.

“My Police, Crime and Fire Plan will develop our approach on these issues, alongside the Chief Constable,” he said.

“We need to ensure people have the confidence to report offences and know action will be taken, and we need to ensure the most vulnerable in our communities are protected.”