Sent on behalf of Superintendent Andy Boyd, LPA Commander, South & Vale LPA
The end of the financial year enables us to assess our performance whilst looking ahead to this year’s priorities.
Once again I am really pleased to inform you that during the last twelve months we have been able to reduce crime whilst increasing the number of offenders we have brought to justice. During the last year we have reduced crime by 0.2%. Whilst this is a modest decrease, it should be viewed in the context of our success in reducing crime by over 38% in the last ten years. There were, last year, over a 1000 less victims of crime than there were two years ago.
Within the last financial year we were the second best performing Local Police Area in Thames Valley delivering:
· 6% reduction in Dwelling Burglary.
· 37.4% detection rate in Dwelling Burglary.
· 37.0% detection rate in Rape.
· 61.3% detection rate in Violence against the Person with Injury.
· 6% reduction in Violence against the Person with Injury.
One of the most effective ways to reduce crime is to catch those who are responsible and bring them to justice. We have again this year increased the number of offenders we have brought to justice. We have the second highest detection rate for crime within Thames Valley with offenders being brought to justice in one in three of the crimes committed in our district.
The simple facts are that you are less likely to be a victim of crime in South Oxfordshire or the Vale of White Horse than almost anywhere else in the country. Also, if somebody commits a crime within our district they are far more likely to be caught.
Whilst we are extremely proud of these achievements we do not under estimate the challenges of maintaining these levels of performance and we are committed to striving to further reduce crime.
This year we will again prioritise dwelling burglaries. This is a crime that can have a devastating impact on victims who feel their homes have been invaded and have often lost irreplaceable items, sometimes with huge sentimental value. Whilst we are proud to have reduced this crime by 60% in the last ten years we are determined to reduce it still further.
Twenty percent of all this year’s dwelling burglaries across the Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire occurred in Henley town centre. The overwhelming majority of these offences are believed to have been committed by two local men. These offenders have now been charged with these offences and are currently awaiting trial. Once again, we have the highest detection rate within Thames Valley Police for dwelling burglary.
We will again be prioritising offences of violence this year. Historically, the largest volume of these offences have occurred during the Friday and Saturday night time economy period as a result of increased intoxication levels. As a result of this, over the last 12 months we have committed significant resources into policing these times. Together with our partners, we have worked with local licensees to reduce levels of intoxication and to deliver a zero tolerance approach to those individuals who wish to behave in an anti social or disorderly manner. As a result of this approach for the first time in many years violent incidents in our town centres on a Friday and Saturday evening have decreased.
It is largely through this work that we have successfully reduced injuries sustained through violent assaults across the district by over 6%.
However, violence has shown an increase across the district and this has largely been as a result of an increase in domestic violence. It has been acknowledged for many years that offences of domestic violence are under reported and hidden within the home. It is a priority for us to give victims of domestic violence the confidence and reassurance to report these crimes. It is believed that the increase in this reported crime is a sign of our success in encouraging reporting; our challenge now is to continue supporting victims, ensure their safety, and prevent further reoffending.
Tackling rural crime will again be a priority for us this year. We are proud to have reduced crime in the rural community by 25% in the last year, although we recognise there is a great deal that still needs to be done to deter those individuals who travel into our community and blight our countryside. We are this year increasing the number of dedicated resources to tackle rural crime and have scheduled a rolling programme of proactive operations.
Whilst we are understandably proud of the continued reduction in crime and increase in offenders being brought to justice, it is the style with which these successes have been achieved that brings the most satisfaction.
Contrary to what some sections of the media would have you believe, within South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse the overwhelming majority of the public have a great deal of trust and confidence in the Police. It is this relationship with the public which has enabled us to deliver sustained reductions in crime; we cannot detect crime without the support of the public. We rely on the public to tell us when they are victims of crime, to tell us when they see something suspicious and to give evidence at court in order for us to bring offenders to justice. It is our role to keep the public safe, we recognise our unique relationship with the public in which we are reliant on their trust in order to fulfil our duties, we will endeavour this year to enhance and build on this relationship.
We will over the next year continue to develop our Neighbourhood Watch Schemes and community messaging across South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse. These schemes enable us to further develop our relationship with local communities enabling us to let them know what is happening and how they can help us keep them safe and protect their property. If you would like to discuss how we can enhance the schemes in your local area please do let me know and I will arrange for a member of our neighbourhood team to contact you.
As I regularly point out we have not reduced crime on our own and I am extremely grateful for the continuing help and support from both South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils, the Community Safety Partnership and all those volunteers who support us through the Special Constabulary, Neighbourhood Watch and the Neighbourhood Action Groups.
Thank you for your support this year, it has been very much appreciated and I look forward to continuing to work with you over the coming year.
South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse LPA