Blackpool still has the worst crime rate outside London despite a sharp fall in offences reported to police, the latest figures show.
Startling new statistics show there is a burglary in the resort every five hours – despite a 13 per cent fall in the number of break-ins reported over the last 12 months.
We also deal with many mental health-related incidents, which make up around a quarter of the calls that we take
Official data, published by the Office for National Statistics yesterday, show crime on the Fylde coast fell six per cent last year – and three per cent across Lancashire.
Police have cautiously welcomed a fall in crime but warned the figures only account for a fraction of the force’s work.
Lancashire Police’s assistant chief constable Mark Bates said: “The true picture for us in Lancashire is that the vast majority of officer time is spent on helping the most vulnerable, usually children and the elderly, and preventing harm.
“We also deal with many mental health-related incidents, which make up around a quarter of the calls that we take.”
He said that work, which is “not easily quantifiable”, is vital in preventing crime “further down the line”.
The figures show there was crime recorded for every nine people living in Blackpool between April 2014 and March this year.
Only six places in the UK had a higher crime rate, all of them in London. Last year, crime in Blackpool fell seven per cent, fuelled by a significant fall in theft offences, including shoplifting.
However, violence against the person was up three per cent, from 3,947 to 4,051.
Crime in Fylde was largely stable, with the total number of offences rising slightly from 3,029 to 3,043. That included small rises in violent crimes and theft but a sharp fall in drugs offences.
Crime in Wyre was down eight per cent, from 5,283 to 4,865 – the biggest fall in Lancashire. Offences fell across the board, with the exception of violent crime, domestic burglary and bike theft.
Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “The reduction in crime this year is obviously good news and shows a good picture for Lancashire.
“While I welcome this, there are clearly some areas where there has been an increase and this is worrying.”
He said the increased demand placed on officers is particularly concerning in light of “continuing financial pressures” as savage cuts to the police budget have left the force needing to make £100m in savings by 2021.
Crimes on the Fylde coast in 2014/15
Office for National Statistics crime figures for 2014/15 (and change from 2013/14)
Total crime: 15,248 (-6.6 per cent)
Violent crime: 4,051 (2.6 per cent)
Sex offences: 370 (-0.3 per cent)
Domestic burglary: 698 (-8 per cent)
Total theft: 7,266 (-10 per cent)
Total crime: 3,043 (0.5 per cent)
Violent crime: 634 (3.8 per cent)
Sexual offences: 77 (37.5 per cent)
Domestic burglary: 181 (-5.2 per cent)
Total theft: 1,632 (1.6 per cent)
Total crime: 4,865 (-7.9 per cent)
Violent crime: 1,164 (5.2 per cent)
Sex offences: 101 (-17.9 per cent)
Domestic burglary: 212 (1.9 per cent)
Total theft: 2,324 (-13.2 per cent)