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Fall in level of crime in district is welcomed
Crime in West Yorkshire is continuing to fall, new statistics reveal.
But a leading Bradford councillor is to seek national clarification over a conflict in the crime figures.
The annual Crime Survey for England and Wales estimated there were eight million crimes against households and adult residents in the year to the end of last September – the lowest estimate in the survey’s 32-year history.
It found that property and vehicle crime was down by ten per cent on the previous year, while violent crime and theft from the person had fallen by nine per cent.
But crime figures, released by the Office for National Statistics, recorded 3.7 million offences – less than half the crime survey estimate – and only a three per cent decrease.
Statistics based on police recorded crime data have been found not to meet the required Code of Practice standard, but are still being published by the ONS.
The Crime Survey data, though, is still accepted as national statistics and is based on face-to-face interviews with residents in England and Wales.
West Yorkshire Police said yesterday that data from the Office for National Statistics showed crime fell in the county by four per cent, meaning there were 6,152 fewer victims of crime in the county.
Chief Constable Mark Gilmore said he was pleased overall crime continued to fall significantly throughout West Yorkshire, with greater reductions than the national average, and gave his commitment not to be complacent.
West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson, said: “These figures demonstrate that West Yorkshire Police officers and staff are working incredibly hard to help bring down crime, and the commitment in bringing criminals to justice is working.”
Bradford Council deputy leader Imran Hussain, in charge of safer and stronger communities in the district, welcomed the figures, but said the discrepancy between the police and Crime Survey data needed further investigation.
Councillor Hussain said: “The police figures have been branded as unreliable, as I understand it.
“Further questions clearly need to be answered as to why they are unreliable, and why there is a discrepancy.
“The figures give us a picture we rely on in terms of policing to come and where to allocate resources in the future, so they are very important. I will be discussing this with the Police and Crime Commissioner, and asking if he can seek clarification at a national level.”
West Yorkshire Police Federation chairman, Nick Smart, said no accurate recording system was in place and the two official sets of figures were in dispute.
But Mr Smart added: “There is a current theme across both reports that crime is coming down, which we welcome.”
He called for a clearer categorisation of some offences, for instance violence against the person, which can range from grievous bodily harm to a much less serious common assault.
The reductions in West Yorkshire included a 12 per cent drop in domestic burglaries and a 13 per cent fall in robberies and drugs offences. But shoplifting was up by 12 per cent and sexual offences by 65 per cent.
The Chief Constable said the rise in sexual offences was driven by high-profile, historic sexual offence cases which had led a number of victims to come forward, investment to enhance the quality of crime recording and understanding the nature of sexual offending, and a police-led campaign, ‘Know the Signs’, which encouraged vulnerable victims to come forward.
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