THE latest annual crime statistics have revealed an increase in crime across Merseyside – but a decrease in robberies and burglaries, bucking the rise seen nationally.
The Office of National Statistics (ONS) released crime statistics for all police forces across the UK on April 23. They show Merseyside Police has seen an increase in overall crime of 0.5% (695 more offences) during the period of January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019 - which is lower than the 3% increase seen nationally.
Burglary offences have decreased by 18.9%, resulting in 2,102 less burglaries force wide, doubling the national 7.7% decrease whilst robbery has also seen a 5.8% decrease (85 less offences) compared to a national increase of 8.8%.
Vehicle crime has also decreased by 12.9% (1,340 less offences) which is far greater than the national 0.1% decrease.
Deputy Chief Constable Serena Kennedy said: “I am pleased to see that there has been a decrease in some crime types in Merseyside in the past year.
“Burglary is an offence that can have a huge impact on victims in our communities, and it is pleasing to see that the force’s efforts in this area, including a focussed activity under Operation Castle, which has resulted in 2,102 less burglaries being committed this year.
“These statistics show the excellent work of all officers and staff who remain committed in putting the public first, doing everything they can to prevent and detect crime in Merseyside and I hope to see future decreases in these and other crime types during 2020.
“Despite Merseyside having the fifth lowest rate increase for ‘violence with injury’ compared to our most similar forces, statistics also highlighted an 8.1% increase in violence (3,556 more offences) in Merseyside, a 2.7% increase in violence with injury (387 more offences) and a 10.8% increase in violence without injury (3,166 more offences). Nationally, there has also been a 9% increase compared to the previous year.
“We have analysed the increased levels of violent crime which can be attributed to our continued improvement in recording crime as well as incidents where, although violence has been used, it has resulted in either a minor injury or no injury at all.
“Saying this, we remain realistic about the issues we face. Alongside the Home Office, we continue to invest in proactive methods of policing including the launch of ‘Op Target’, to help tackle serious and violent crime including knife and gun crime, and we are already seeing great results in the number of those arrested and charged as well as weapons recovered and proactive opportunities, carrying out warrants and engaging with the public where possible.”
Since the launch of Op Target in July last year, the police have carried out 3,085 stop searches, over 1,200 open land searches, recovered over 1,100 knives and other weapons and arrested over 450 people for knife crime offences (not including possession of a bladed article).
During their dedicated Op Sceptre week alone, designed to specifically crack down on those involved in knife crime, they conducted a further 62 open land searches where they recovered five knives and one bladed article, carried out 56 stop searches where they recovered seven knives, three offensive weapons and one bladed article and arrested 23 people.
The force have also seen a 55% decrease in knife related homicides last year (from nine in 2018 to four in 2019), however this figure is ‘still far too many.’
Work continues to protect the public against gang related activity and they are pleased that over the past two years they have successfully obtained gang injunctions against 29 people.
The newly formed Violence Reduction Partnership (VRP), set up in the summer of 2019 with Home Office funding of £3.37m, also provides them with the opportunity to work with our partners who fund great initiatives to further reduce serious violence for young people in all five boroughs of Merseyside.
For sexual offences, there has been a small increase in reported crimes (2.4% rise compared with 1.7% rise in England and Wales).