The number of recorded violent offences in Northamptonshire has almost doubled in the past two years despite a pledge by the county’s police and crime commissioner to reduce it by 40 per cent, latest figures have shown.
Shortly after being elected in 2012, Northamptonshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Adam Simmonds said cutting violent crime was ”at the heart of his Police and Crime Plan”.
In 2013, the number of recorded violent offences did reduce from 8,504 to 7,421. However, in the following two years the number has increased to 10,361 in 2014 and 13,497 in 2015.
The number of recorded sexual offences has also shot up in the past year, increasing from 1,125 in 2014 to 1,632 in 2015. The total has more than doubled from 801 in 2012.
In a Police and Crime Plan performance update, due to be presented to the Police and Crime panel next month, Mr Simmonds said violent crime is still “too high” in the county.
Mr Simmonds has previously said the force’s failure to reduce the level of violence in the county was the “biggest disappointment” during his time in office.
In 2014, Northamptonshire Police was criticised in a HMIC report for the accuracy of its crime recording.
Following an increase in the number of violent offences last year a spokesman for Northamptonshire Police said some of the increase can be explained by changes to the Home Office counting rules, with additional offences now being recorded as violent (i.e malicious communications such as cyber-bullying).
But speaking to the Police and Crime Panel in December, Mr Simmonds said he remained “frustrated” that no one has been able to sufficiently explain to him why violence remains so high in Northamptonshire.
He said: “Although I accept that recorded violence has increased across the country, it remains the case that comparative performance in Northamptonshire places our county near the bottom of all police force areas for violent offences.
“The force are seemingly unclear on what works to reduce violence or what are the root causes of the issue for Northamptonshire. I know that more recently they have looked beyond our boundaries to seek out ‘what works’, and this is an encouraging approach. I would also hope it continues so that Northamptonshire can benefit from the latest evidenced-based policies nationally and internationally.
“Although the categorisation of violence is a matter for others at a national level, I remain however, concerned that any type of violence is increasing. Often the difference between violence with injury and violence without injury is only one of severity, potentially driven by luck,
I do not believe that the public would or should accept that it is ‘ok’ for violence without injury to be increasing.”