ACCRINGTON is probably safer than anywhere else in the country, according to the town's top police officer.
Inspector Julian Platt warned members of the Town Centre Regeneration Board that the public perception of the town was becoming "skewed" because of a few isolated incidents.
He said that despite a number of violent crimes in recent months, his officers were working hard to make sure the town centre was a safe place.
He said: "The last thing I want is for people to fear coming into Accrington in case they get assaulted. You're safer in Accrington than you are anywhere else in the country."
He added that although recent figures in a report to Hyndburn Council's Cabinet showed that violent crime was up 16 per cent, this category now included many minor offences. The success of his officers in detecting crimes had also contributed to the increase.
He said: "Violent crime covers a multitude of sins and I am concerned that people's perceptions and the reality are becoming somewhat skewed.
"There have been a number of well-publicised violent crimes, most of which were detected, isolated incidents. While they were very serious, in many cases the people attacked were engaging in drunken activities which increased the chances of them becoming victims.
"Our proactiveness in having an excellent CCTV system can also affect the figures - we're detecting and recording crimes that in many towns would go unnoticed."
Hyndburn Council leader Peter Britcliffe congratulated Inspector Platt on the work of his officers in dealing with crime, particularly during Euro 2004.