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Police report reveals crime up 37% in three years in Hyndburn

'Dire' cuts to police numbers have been blamed with rises in most categories of crimes

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Shocking police figures have revealed crime has been rising across the board in Hyndburn for the past three years.

More than 620 crimes per month have been committed this year, up 14 per cent on last year and 37 per cent higher than the rate in 2014/15.

There have been surges in several categories of crimes with violence, domestic abuse and hate crimes rising sharply, accompanied by spikes in acquisitive crimes, particularly shoplifting and robbery.

The Police and Crime Commissioner says the statistics highlight the increasing demands on officers both in Hyndburn and across Lancashire.

The figures were revealed in a special report by police to Hyndburn council’s communities and wellbeing overview and scrutiny committee. The figures were presented by police inspector Steve Rides.

Scrutiny committee chairman Coun Glen Harrison said he was ‘shocked at the magnitude by how much crimes had gone up across the board’ and fears that ‘dire’ cuts to frontline police officer numbers have encouraged criminality to flourish.

Coun Harrison said: “I was shocked at the magnitude by how much it had gone up across the board.

“I anticipated they would be bad because if you are expecting the same service but putting less resources in then it stands to reason that something has got to give. Invariably what has given here is the crime figures have rocketed in Hyndburn. I do believe the police are doing as much as they can do with what they’ve got but they need more.”

Hyndburn Police Inspector Steve Rides.

Hyndburn MP Graham Jones said austerity and ‘drastic cuts’ in policing were to blame for the rise in crime.

He said: “Family budgets and individuals are under increasing pressure because of austerity. At the same time the number of police has been drastically cut back. You don’t see them on the beat any more and criminals can see this.

“They know there’s less chance of them getting caught and are committing more crimes.” Lancashire County Council voted in February to remove £265,000 part funding towards 17 PCSOs across the county.

And residents across Hyndburn will pay £8 a year more (the rate for band A homes) to the Police Commissioner in 2018/19 as part of measures to raise an extra £5 million for the Constabulary.

Robbery, domestic abuse, harassment, public order and sexual offences (excluding rape) have all seen ‘exceptionally’ large rises in the last 12 months.

Huge increases have all been seen in offences causing public fear, alarm or distress, public order offences, domestic abuse, and harassment.

Shop owners in Accrington say they have seen a big increase in crime.

Donna Greenwood recently took over Boutique 23 on Warner Street which was burgled in January this year. She said: “There have been five or six places that have been burgled around here recently, but there’s no deterrent. There are no police officers or cars going up and down. It’s very quiet.

“It’s not just happening in shops but there are more incidents in the streets and people are getting robbed in their own houses. It’s terrible.”

Tracey Glegg, who runs Hair & Faces hairdressers on Bank Street, was also burgled earlier this year. She said: “We’ve had various things pinched but that was the first time in 21 years that they have caught someone and jailed them. It cost me £500 to repair the damage but I didn’t want to claim on my insurance because my premiums could double.

“I’ve had more incidents now than a few years ago. There are more people trying [to commit crimes] and you just have to try and secure your premises more. I think people realise there aren’t enough police about. If they are a burglar or a thief then they know they aren’t around to catch them.”

Conservative group leader Coun Tony Dobson called for further council tax increases to fund more police officers. He said: “Obviously it’s disappointing to see the crime figures going up. I think we are probably getting to the stage where we do need as a community to start paying that little bit extra in tax to improve those local services that we are absolutely passionate about or absolutely need.”

Police chiefs say the rising crime figures are partly explained by changes in recording and crime classifications, as well as victims feeling more confident to come forward.

A Lancashire Police spokesperson said: “We continue to see increases in recorded crime, some of which is the result of more rigorous recording standards and changing classifications of crime, and some of which represents a shift in the type of crime we now investigate.

Councillor Glen Harrison, chair of Hyndburn councils communities and wellbeing overview and scrutiny committee

“Violent crimes including sexual offences are more prevalent in comparison to some offences and whilst some of this is a positive sign that more victims feel confident to report we know that almost half of all crime is now committed in the private, not public space. We are encouraged by some recent data showing good conviction rates and victim satisfaction rates because we have been working hard to provide consistent and compassionate service to victims so that they feel confident to come forward.”

Police Commissioner Clive Grunshaw said: “Lancashire police work around the clock to prevent and catch those who decide to commit crimes.

“These figures highlight the increasing levels of demand that officers are dealing with both in Hyndburn and across Lancashire, as the number of recorded crimes continues to rise. It is encouraging to see that victims of crimes such as harassment and domestic abuse are increasingly coming forward.”

Total number of crimes in Hyndburn:

2014/15 - 5,437

2015/16 - 5,864

2016/17 - 6,526

2017/18 - 6,827 (excludes March 2018 as figure not yet available)

Snapshot of Hyndburn crime figures April 2017 to February 2018 compared to same period in 2016/17:

All crime – up 15.2pc

All violence against the person – up 29.6pc (1,598 to 2,071)

Alcohol-related crime – up 13.1pc (833 to 942)

Domestic abuse – up 42.6pc (538 to 767)

Burglary – up 3pc (699 to 720)

All vehicle crime – down 10.9pc (686 to 611)

Shoplifting – up 15pc (472 to 543)

Harassment – up 27.2pc (261 to 332)

Public order offences – up 92.6pc - (163 to 314)

Offences causing public fear, alarm or distress – up 114.3pc (112 to 240)

Drugs offences - up 7.6pc (92 to 99)

Hate crime - up 74.1pc (54 to 94)

Robbery – up 40.7pc (27 to 38)

Anti-social behaviour – down 4.7pc