Police cuts warning despite fall in crime

Clive Grunshaw
Clive Grunshaw
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Official police figures for 2014 show 15,553 offences were recorded by officers in the resort – a four per cent drop – but both Fylde and Wyre saw crime levels creep up.

While robbery and drugs offences both fell last year, the figures show an increase in violent crime, sex offences and burglary on the Fylde coast.

Police action

Police action

Residents today warned the latest figures should not be seen as a sign the force can withstand the huge financial pressures being piled on it by Government cuts.

Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, welcomed an overall fall in crime.

He added: “However we have seen an increase in certain areas, such as domestic burglary and sexual offences.

“While any rise in crime is concerning, it should be recognised that there are an increased number of victims coming forward about sexual offences, which shows the confidence they have in Lancashire Constabulary.

“Tackling sexual offences and supporting victims are key priorities for me and I am working with organisations to ensure victims get the possible support.

“Crime is low in Lancashire, but I will continue to scrutinise the chief constable to make sure everything is being done to keep it that way.”

The figures, published by the Office for National Statistics, show police recorded crime nationally rose in 2014 for the first time in more than 10 years.

Yet, the Fylde coast saw figures fall by 2.2 per cent, while across Lancashire crime was down 1.1 per cent.

A Lancashire Police spokesman said: “The figures show that overall crime has continued to fall in Lancashire, which means that fewer people are becoming victims.

“We remain dedicated to keeping Lancashire’s communities safe from harm, keeping levels of crime low and to delivering a high quality of service to victims of crime.”

Across Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre, there were 85 more domestic burglaries – a rise of eight per cent – last year.

Theft from the person was up 14 per cent – from 335 cases in 2013 to 383 last year – while sex offences were up eight per cent to 557.

Violent crime was up as violence without injury soared by 20 per cent to 2,787. More serious violence, resulting in injury, fell slightly to 3,071 – a drop of two per cent.

Robbery was at a record low, with incidents falling 22 per cent to 153 last year, and drugs offences were down 20 per cent at 751.

Dave Blacker, chairman of the Talbot Police and Communities Together (PACT) group, welcomed falling crime levels but said officers were having to adapt to make better use of dwindling resources.

He added: “I am a great advocate of neighbourhood policing.

“It would be a huge loss if that didn’t exist.

“If police retreated to answering 99 calls, which is their core business, I think crime would rise substantially.”

Charlie Doherty, who chairs the Central Holiday area PACT group, said: “On the whole we are still seeing the same problems, houses of multiple occupancy and prostitution.

“It doesn’t seem to be going down.”