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Violence accounts for more than a third of rising crime in county

PUBLISHED: 14:57 24 April 2020 | UPDATED: 15:41 24 April 2020

Overall crime, excluding fraud, rose 4% in Suffolk last year, in line with the national average, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Overall crime, excluding fraud, rose 4% in Suffolk last year, in line with the national average, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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Recorded crime continued to rise in Suffolk last year as overall offences increased by 4% to a total of more than 56,500.

The use of knives in serious offences like robbery and assault increased 10% last year and by 84% since 2010 but police insist Suffolk remains safe, with a crime rate below the national average and the second fewest number of homicides in the country.

Possession of weapons also increased by 20% to 541, but again, the rate per 1,000 population was well below the national average.

While violent offences rose 13% to account for more than two thirds of overall crime, theft and burglary maintained their decline of recent years.

Deputy Chief Constable Rachel Kearton called the rise disappointing but said it reflected public confidence in reporting crime and the professionalism of officers to accurately record all offences in line with Home Office counting rules.

Rachel Kearton, Deputy Chief Constable of Suffolk Constabulary  Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARYRachel Kearton, Deputy Chief Constable of Suffolk Constabulary Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY

“Compared to national figures, this low increase reinforces the safety of our county,” she added.

“Having the second lowest number of homicides in the country is something we should pride ourselves on as a police force and a community.

“We’ve had an intense focus on violence over the last quarter, working with the public on encouraging people to surrender knives and that they don’t need a weapon for protection, while also carrying out proactive work with good results and a number of successful court cases.”

Drug offences went up by a quarter last year to a total of 1,712 and a crime rate of 24 one of the few offences for which Suffolk exceeds the national average.

Dept Ch Const Kearton said: “We’re in the top half of forces across the country, but this increase says a lot about what we are doing to take out organised crime groups and seize drugs.”

A continued reduction in burglary and ‘theft from the person’ has been put down, in part, to people taking practical measures to prevent themselves becoming a victim.

Dept Ch Const Kearton said: “A big part of our work is prevention. We’d much rather crimes don’t occur in the first place.

“We’ve put work into Ring (video doorbell distribution) and similar projects to raise awareness of how people can keep property safe, and we work closely with communities in terms of sharing information about what’s going on.”


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