Suffolk's homicide rate third lowest of all counties
PUBLISHED: 05:30 12 February 2019 | UPDATED: 12:42 12 February 2019
Police have been encouraged by the county's homicide rate falling to the third lowest across England and Wales last year.
Only Wiltshire and Dorset experienced lower rates for the year ending March 2018.
Nationally, there were 726 homicides recorded during the same period – the highest since 729 recorded in 2007/08.
With three homicides recorded in Suffolk over 12 months, the rate of four per million people was less than a third the national average of 12.4, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Homicides, which cover the offences of murder, manslaughter and infanticide, increased significantly in the county from two in 2015/16 to 10 in 2016/17 but then fell dramatically to a number greater than only Wiltshire, where just one homicide took place in the same time.
Statistics were recorded before the fatal stabbing of three young men on the county; 17-year-old Tavis Spencer-Aitkens in Ipswich last June – for which six people are currently standing trial; Lowestoft father Scott Tarrant in July – for which Steven Butcher received a 22-year sentence at the beginning of February; and Ipswich man Daniel Saunders in December – for which a 17-year-old boy has been charged, and four others released under investigation following their arrests on suspicion of assisting an offender.
The 285 homicides where the method of killing was by a knife or sharp instrument was the most in England and Wales since the Home Office Homicide Index began in 1946.
The ONS said the rise seen in recent years had been most pronounced in male victims and those in younger age groups.
A police spokesman said: “It is reassuring to see that Suffolk has the third lowest homicide rate in the country and that such deaths are extremely rare in our county.
“However, we recognize the truly devastating impact that any homicide has on victims’ families, their friends and the significant detrimental impact such incidents have on our local communities.
“In this context, Suffolk continues to invest in its dedicated joint major investigation team to provide a professional and prioritised response to homicide crime.
“We also continue to work proactively with partner agencies to do all that we can to prevent violence from happening in the first place.”