Cuts threaten downward crime trend in West Yorkshire, says police chief

Temporary Chief Constable Dee Collins
Temporary Chief Constable Dee Collins
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Yorkshire’s largest police force will struggle to continue a downward trend in crime due to its “diminishing resources”, according to its chief constable.

West Yorkshire Police says there were 1,635 fewer victims of crime in the year to the end of March compared to the previous 12 months, meaning crime is now at a 31-year low.

There were 760 fewer burglary victims while the number of thefts from vehicles fell by 2,743, though there were 5,531 more violent crimes and 1,353 more sexual offences.

Temporary Chief Constable Dee Collins said: “Crime is now back at levels last seen in the early 1980s. This is a tremendous performance when considering the challenging financial climate we have been operating in during recent years.

“Our officers and staff continue to work hard to reduce crime and these results are testament to their efforts.

“However as we move forward with diminishing resources it is difficult to see how this downward trend can be sustained – in fact, we are already seeing an upturn in some crimes.”

West Yorkshire Police says the rise in the number of violent and sexual offences “reflects the trend nationally and is also as a result of a change in recording practices which puts victims as the focus and has their crime reports recorded at the earliest opportunity”.

The force released the figures a week before the Office for National Statistics publishes its recorded crime figures for the calendar year.

The gold-standard ‘national statistics’ status was withdrawn from police recorded crime figures last year after growing fears the underlying data was inaccurate.