Crime has fallen in Central Bedfordshire, official figures show
Police say they have made enormous strides over the past 12 months
Crime has fallen over the last year in Central Bedfordshire, official police records reveal.
Bedfordshire Police recorded 15,861 offences in Central Bedfordshire in the 12 months to December, according to the Office for National Statistics.
That was a decrease of 13 per cent compared to the previous year, when there were 18,289.
At 55 crimes per 1,000 people, that was far lower than the rate across England and Wales, which stood at 81.
But there was a rise in the number of public order and drug offences recorded. This reflected the national situation, where drug offences rose by 15 per cent in England and Wales, and domestic abuse-related offences had a seven per cent increase in 2020.
Danny Shaw, head of strategy and insight at Crest Advisory, a criminal justice consultancy, said: "The rise in drugs offences was principally due to greater police activity in tackling dealers and organised crime gangs, who were also easier to spot with fewer people out on the street.
"The increase in reports of domestic abuse may well be linked to lockdown, when people in abusive relationships were forced to spend long periods together."
Crimes recorded in Central Bedfordshire included:
419 sexual offences, a decrease of four per cent
5,062 violent offences, a decrease of two per cent
1,670 incidents of criminal damage and arson, down 18 per cent
390 drug offences, up 23 per cent
74 possession of weapons such as firearms or knives, down 14 per cent
1,717 public order offences, up six per cent
6,037 theft offences, down 25 per cent
Inspector Lou Bates, from the Central community policing team, said: “Central Bedfordshire remains a really safe place to live and we are proud to work with our communities to ensure this continues.
“However, we are not complacent and have made enormous strides over the past 12 months in tackling crime across Bedfordshire, targeting things such as knife and gun crime as well as organised criminal activity.
“This proactive police work is taking drugs, weapons and criminal cash off the streets and ending the violence and exploitation linked to the illegal drugs trade as a result.”
Overall, police recorded eight per cent fewer crimes across England and Wales – there were around 5.6 million offences in the year to December.
The ONS said the annual drop was mainly driven by a “substantial fall” in crime of 15 per cent between April and June as the first lockdown restrictions were introduced.
While police-recorded crimes increased from July to September as restrictions were gradually eased, they fell again in the last three months of the year as lockdown measures were reimposed, it added.
Sophie Sanders, of the ONS Centre for Crime and Justice, said: “There were fluctuations in the level of crime experienced in England and Wales throughout 2020.
“Although a small proportion of these fluctuations will be the result of seasonal effects on crime trends, the majority can be attributed to the introduction and subsequent easing of national lockdown restrictions throughout the year.
“Most crime types have seen recorded offences fall year-on-year. The notable exceptions are drug offences, because of proactive police activity in crime hotspots during the first lockdown, while violence against the person also saw a small increase.”