Thursday, 19 April 2012

Recorded Crime on the increase in North Wales.

Today's release of recorded crime figures to the end of December 2011, shows some worrying trends in North Wales. Whilst total recorded crime has only increased by 2% to 42,869 recorded crime, the more serious criminal offences have shown staggering increases with Sexual Offences up by 6%, Robbery up 20% and Burglary in a Dwelling up by 22%. With the exception of a drop in violent crime by 2% all other decreases have been in minor non-violent offences with motor vehicle crime down 1%, criminal damage down 4% and other offences down 19%.

It should also be noted that drug offences are also down 21% but this is probably down to a lack of enforcement as drug offences are normally recorded as crimes on detection, what this means in reality is that North Wales Police are no longer prioritising drug abuse which goes against local authority Community Safety plans which has Substance Misuse as a priority.

Together with the reduction in arrests outlined in the previous blog I believe that it is time for North Wales Police come up with some answers as to what their strategic direction is and what their priorities are?

Perhaps I can ask again for the views of the candidates for Police Commissioner on the issues I have highlighted.

1 comment:

Richard Hibbs said...

One of the first things I learned at the Institute of Criminology in Cambridge in 1988 (apart from name-dropping) is that crime recorded by the police can go up or down whatever direction actual crime is moving. I have spoken with the Home Office Statistician about combining police records in North Wales with survey data from a random sample of households (e.g. from the BCS) to produce a more reliable estimate, using something called capture-recapture analysis (definitely worth Googling if you're interested in how to count things that are invisible) but apparently the British Crime Survey sample size isn't big enough in North Wales and asking households doesn't cover all offence types anyway so this is something the Police Comissioner would need to commission specially next year. So with that statistical caveat in mind, here goes:

1. we need to wait for the December quarterly update from the British Crime Survey before drawing too many conclusions, but even the force's own statistics are already showing a 3.6% increase in recorded crime in North Wales for the year to 31 March (a more recent 12-month period).

So crime has been increasing at about the same rate as the police precept.

What we really need is a crime index, as Arfon implies, which weights these figures by offence type. I think the FBI already use one. Maybe someone should do the math for North Wales?!

2. I'm very concerned about the soft stance on drug enforcement that could reasonably be inferred from the failure by the Police Authority to mention drugs or alcohol even once in the current policing priorities. I've done the keyword searches and I can't find it - maybe someone else can, but in the meantime I certainly agree with the hypothesis that there is mounting evidence that North Wales Police are no longer prioritising drug abuse.

Which is strange when you think that 60%-70% of all crime is reputedly drug-related (e.g. McKeganey 2011).

Of course it's not so much about what I think, as about representing the collective wisdom of the community as a basis for commissioning, so I'd like to hear more views from the community on this please. My service user stakeholder group didn't make it to the citizen engagement event in Llandudno on 24th March to defend the harm reduction agenda, whereas a number of Colwyn Bay businessmen who were there made it clear that they do not support turning city centres into centres of excellence for treating recovering addicts.

This is a divisive and potentially dangerous issue for PCCs to campaign on, but providing strategic leadership in a multi-agency context where there is no clear ethos is perhaps what PCCs are there to provide. What do other people think?

NB my company has a commercial interest in the promotion of training in treatments for substance misuse/dual diagnosis based on dialectal abstinence (Linehan 1993) under an exclusive training licence from Behavioral Tech LLC, Seattle.

Richard Hibbs
Independent candidate for Police & Crime Commissioner in North Wales
c/o Integral Business Support Ltd, Wrexham Technology Park