Crime in county down yet again

Police on duty at the scene of a crime in Sheffield
Police on duty at the scene of a crime in Sheffield
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Crime in South Yorkshire fell by seven per cent last year - with offending down for the 24th year running, according to new Government figures.

There were 7,000 fewer victims of crime between April 2012 and March 2013, with anti-social behaviour, criminal damage and arson and vehicle theft reducing most.

The figures show there were 93,649 offences logged last year compared to 100,852 the previous year, but burglaries, robberies, shoplifting and sex offences all went up.

Chief Superintendent Rob Odell said: “Continuing to reduce crime year after year is a considerable achievement, and is the result not just of the effectiveness of the police but the assistance we have and continue to receive from the public of South Yorkshire, from the Police and Crime Commissioner and our many partner agencies.

“These reductions have been achieved against a backdrop of severely reduced budgets.

“As budgets have been cut, so too have we had to provide a service with fewer people. We now have some 150 fewer police officers than we did in February 2011 and some 500 fewer police support staff.

“Pleasing though these figures are, we have some considerable way to go yet, particularly in those areas where we have seen some increases in crime.”

The figures were released on the same day that Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies revealed the county’s police force still needs to find savings of £9.6 million in response to Government funding cuts of £49.3 million between March 2011 and 2015.

HMIC Inspector, Roger Baker, said: “The force still has £9.6 million to find by March 2015. HMIC is concerned that this outstanding financial gap means that South Yorkshire Police will find it very hard to

make any further savings required in the future.”

The HMIC report says South Yorkshire Police faces a particularly difficult challenge because the amount of money it spends on policing is lower than most other forces, yet it has a higher number of staff so has a comparatively high pay bill.

By March 2015 the force expects to have lost 256 police officers over a four year period.

A spokesman said the force was ‘confident’ it would make all the savings required.