Crime in Northamptonshire increases by seven per cent

Supt Chris Hillery.
Supt Chris Hillery.

Crime in the county has seen a 7.2 per cent increase year-on-year.

The figures, yet to be published by the Home Office but seen by this newspaper, show there were 50,113 crimes from July 2015 to June 2016 - up from 46,757 from the previous 12 months.

There has been a decrease in drug offences, but the increase in possession of weapon offences (27.5 per cent), violence (13.5 per cent) and robbery (11.4 per cent) will come as a concern.

Supt Chris Hillery, head of local policing for Northants Police, said there had been an increase in historic crimes surfacing – but the force does not want to use that as an excuse.

He said: “We are in line with the national picture. It’s a fair reflection on the changing face of crime.

“Yes, there’s been an increase in people coming forward and historic reporting but we don’t want to hide behind that. That’s not the only reason. Crime is on the up.

“These figures are not a reflection on my officers.

“We are working very hard to make sure that if you are a victim of crime, we do our best to support you.

“We are in line with the national average but we want to be better than that, we want to be below the national average.”

Of the seven districts the figures represent, Wellingborough saw the biggest increase in crime with a 12.7 per cent rise.

There was a 92.7 per cent increase in drug offences and a 56.7 per cent increase in possession of weapon offences.

Supt Hillery says a key reason to this was the launch of Operation Worcester, which has seen a number of drug dealers jailed.

He said: “Officers in Wellingborough are being very pro-active but there is a gangs issue that has started to surface and accelerate both in the town and outside.

“When you dedicate police to tackle crimes such as drug offences there will be an increase in those crimes.”

In Northampton there was a 7.4 per cent increase in crime, with burglaries and sexual violence areas of concern for Supt Hillery.

He added: “We already know that a significant amount of crime occurs in Northampton. It accounts for about 40 per cent of crime in the county.

“There are concerns about domestic burglaries and sexual violence. Some of these crimes are historic but not all.

“When you look at robbery there has been an increase by 36 crimes but all of them are unnacceptable and crimes that we will do our best to solve.”

In Corby, there was a fall in crime - down by 24 incidents year-on-year. There were falls in the number of robberies, thefts and drug offences.

Supt Hillery says he welcomes any decrease as long as it is genuine.

He said: “I think there’s a trust in Corby [between residents and police].

“I welcome any reductions in crime but only if that a genuine reduction, and I think there is in Corby.”

Daventry saw a 10.2 per cent increase in crime, with burglaries Supt Hillery’s biggest priority.

He added: “In Daventry our biggest concern is the burglaries, there’s been an increase in domestic crimes.

“All of these are against people in their homes and an issue for us and them.

“Because there is a low amount of crime these will show a bigger increase but we are working hard to make sure we are there for people.”

Kettering saw a 2.1 per cent increase, while crime rose by 7.3 per cent in East Northants and five per cent in South Northants.

Supt Hillery says the force is looking at remodelling the service to increase work on preventing crime.

He said: “We have done a lot of work around child sexual exploitation and cyber crimes and have a great safeguarding unit.

“We will remodel the service and want to see an increase in visible policing.

“We spend a lot of time at emergencies but we need to spend time preventing and solving crimes.”

Police and crime commissioner Stephen Mold says seeing the figures have made him even more determined to tackle crime.

He said: “I’m disappointed to see that there was an increase in crime in the 12 months preceeding my election as police and crime commissioner.

“Seeing these statistics makes me even more determined to ensure that my office and I are working closely with Chief Constable Simon Edens and his team to ensure Northamptonshire Police is as effective and efficient as possible at tackling crime.

“Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies recently praised Chief Constable Edens for improving the performance of Northamptonshire Police and I’m confident that this will continue under his leadership, and we will begin to see the force perform about the national average.”