South Yorkshire police chief worried by the number of offences

South Yorks Police Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright
South Yorks Police Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright
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A South Yorkshire police chief has vowed to reduce crime after new figures showed South Yorkshire fared worse than similar areas.

Shaun Wright, South Yorkshire police and crime commissioner, said, despite crime in the county falling by 7 per cent last year, he was concerned that the number of crimes per 1,000 residents stands at 17, compared to an average of 15.7.

He voiced his concerns after new figures showed that between April 2012 and March this year, there were 93,646 offences – compared to 100,852 the year before.

He said: “I applaud South Yorkshire Police for achieving further reductions in crime, particularly given the severe and unfair budget cuts imposed upon them by Government.

“However, I am concerned there are, on average, still more crimes happening here than other, similar parts of the country.

“While those forces with which we are most closely compared have recorded an average of 15.7 crimes per 1,000 residents, in South Yorkshire that figure is nearly 17 – and that’s too high.

“When I developed my police and crime plan earlier this year, I listened to what people said were the crimes that most blighted their lives.

“I set out proposals to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour, to protect the most vulnerable and to increase visible policing.

“These latest figures, which show a reduction in crime and anti-social behaviour, demonstrate that, not only have I listened to people, but we are taking action.”

However, he said he was worried at the rise in sexual offences – from 824 to 849 – and acquisitive crime, such as shoplifting which rose from 9,122 to 9,610.

Mr Wright said: “Although I welcome the steps the force is taking to address these issues, there needs to be a redoubling of effort to ensure we have a real impact.

“Boosting operational performance and further reducing crime, whilst maintaining the current numbers of officers, specials, community support officers and cadets within the context of on-going funding cuts, is a priority for me. While the latest figures give rise to cautious optimism, neither I nor the Chief Constable have any doubt there is a lot more work yet to be done to ensure a sustained and significant reduction in all crimes.”