Northamptonshire has seen a double-digit percentage drop in its violent crime rate, new Home Office figures suggest.
Just over 7,600 incidents of violence against the person occurred in the year ending September 2013, a fall of 14 per cent and the second biggest fall in England and Wales.
The county’s police commissioner says the figures show the force is in line to meet his target of a 40 per cent reduction in the amount of violent crime by 2016.
But it is not all good news for the county, with 11 such incidents per 1,000 population – a rate which pushes Northamptonshire into the top quarter of the 39 English police force areas in terms of its violent crime rate.
Police commissioner Adam Simmonds said he was satisfied with what the data showed about the fall in crime, saying: “I am very pleased that all the effort, energy and commitment from Northamptonshire Police is paying off.”
But he also admitted there was still a lot of work to be done to reduce the overall rate of violent crime in the county.
He told the Northants Telegraph: “It’s a difficult turn around because Northamptonshire’s position was quite high. I set an ambitious target of a 40 per cent reduction by 2016 and I feel we are on course for that. But we don’t want to become complacent.
“I think most people would not think we are on a par with London, Merseyside or Greater Manchester.”
According to the figures, Greater Manchester and Mersyside both have a lower rate of violence than Northamptonshire.
Mr Simmonds said he wanted to focus on bringing down the levels of domestic violence, which he said required a “broad coalition” of partner agencies working together.
“It’s not just the police, it’s the health service, the criminal justice service and other agencies,” he said. “The biggest problem is still what goes on behind closed doors – that’s where our challenge is greatest. I think for a lot of people violence is seen through the night-time economy, but it’s also about what children see when their parents fight.”
Responding to a Parliamentary question from Kettering MP Philip Hollobone this week, Home Secretary Theresa May said: “I am very happy to join my honourable friend in congratulating the work done by individual officers, the chief constable and the police and crime commissioner in Northamptonshire.
“Their work is having a real impact on crime levels in the area, and that is of real benefit to those who live there. The Northamptonshire PCC has been at the forefront of looking at innovative ways for the police to work more effectively – for example, by bringing the blue light services together – and we support him in that.”