Our police among best in Britain at cracking crime

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POLICE in South Yorkshire are among the best in Britain at cracking break-ins and robberies.

New crime detection figures show South Yorkshire Police have the third-best detection rate in the country for serious acquisitive crime.

Of 20,462 offences reported in Sheffield, Rotherham and Barnsley during the 12 months to the end of March, detectives solved 5,951.

But the detection rate - accounting for 29 per cent of all burglaries, robberies and vehicle crimes - means 71 per cent still go unsolved.

South Yorkshire’s rate - five percentage points higher than the target set by the county’s Police Authority - is surpassed only by Durham and Lancashire constabularies.

South Yorkshire Police also smashed the Authority’s target of reducing reports of serious acquisitive crime by five per cent, achieving a reduction of 11 per cent.

The latest figures show house burglaries are at their lowest level in 30 years, and thefts of vehicles are at their lowest since records began in 1974. Theft from vehicles is at its lowest level for 29 years.

Police Authority statistics reveal house burglaries were down from 7,279 to 7,249 - a reduction of 30 - in the last 12 months.

Theft of vehicles was down from 4,025 to 3,471 - a reduction of 554 - while theft from vehicles was down from 10,760 to 8,871 - a reduction of 1,889.

Serious violent crime was down from 1,340 to 1,173 and knife crime down from 572 to 490 but gun crime was up from 144 to 155.

Charles Perryman, chairman of South Yorkshire Police Authority, said: “Serious acquisitive crime is one of the top policing priorities for the public.

“We realise the impact it can have on communities, and we continue to focus efforts on ensuring crimes are detected and offenders are brought to justice.

“The latest figures show a significant step forward in fighting serious acquisitive crime. We will continue to work with the Force in setting stretching targets to ensure this good work continues.”

South Yorkshire Police has specialist teams of detectives focusing specifically on burglary, robbery and vehicle crime.

As well as examining crime scenes for forensic evidence - including shoe match identification, DNA and fingerprints - the teams also monitor crime trends, and use intelligence on criminals to deploy officers to hotspots where they hope to catch offenders.

Curfew and bail checks are also carried out on offenders released back into the community at the end of their sentences to try to prevent them reoffending.

South Yorkshire Police are facing funding cuts of £43 million over the next four years and there are fears crime will increase.

Chief Constable Med Hughes has spoken of his concerns that crime will rise as police forces shrink, unemployment soars, councils slash services and courts allow repeat offenders to remain on the streets.

Superintendent Tim Innes, South Yorkshire Police’s lead officer for serious acquisitive crime, said: “Despite record performance for South Yorkshire, it’s critical we keep the focus on this area of crime which can be emotionally and financially devastating for victims.

“Our success is based upon some key factors - effective use of intelligence, management of offenders, working with partners and communities, quality investigation, and providing a responsive service day in, day out.”