Wiltshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner has reacted to the news that reported crime has dropped by eight per cent in Wiltshire saying that “crime figures only tell half the story when it comes to crime in the county”.
Despite Wiltshire Police recording the second-lowest number of crimes nationally for the number of crimes committed per population, Philip Wilkinson remains concerned that there are many more offences being committed in the county that police aren’t aware of.
He said, “It’s important that we don’t get carried away with the numbers reported today as I firmly believe they tell only half the story.
“Many in our rural communities, especially farmers simply get on with life rather than reporting criminality when it does occur.
“For those who report crime, there will be many others who won’t and can’t, and it’s important that my office and Wiltshire Police continues to ensure this widening gap between us, and the public is closed.
“By working together, we can increase public confidence so we have a true understanding of the picture in Wiltshire and can work together to make the county safer.
“My Police and Crime plan will help to bridge this gap between the statistics and the reality of crime for victims in Wiltshire setting a clear direction and bringing together key partners to ensure that people feel safe in addition to actually being safe“.
The Office of National Statistics has released figures for the 12 months leading up to June 2021, which shows the Force recorded an overall reduction of 8% in reported crime.
Despite the decrease in overall crime there were still some crime types that saw an increase in the previous 12 months:
- A 12% increase in sexual offences, which includes reports of rape.
- Miscellaneous crimes against society increased by 17%. Miscellaneous crime is made up of different types of crime including fly tipping, perverting the course of justice and possession of indecent photographs of children for example.
- Stalking and Harassment offences jumped by 13% after the Force changed the way in which it recorded offences and improved confidence from the public to report offences.
- Possession of weapon offences increased by 6% although drug offences dropped by 17% overall.
- Unsurprisingly, with people being urged to stay at home for several months during this period shoplifting reports saw a significant reduction of 34% and – domestic burglaries also dropped by 37%.
Police and Crime Commissioner, Philip Wilkinson added, “The increase in sexual offences should not come as a surprise, it is a crime that we know is significantly under-reported and I suspect there will be many victims who haven’t felt able to contact police contrary to the increase these numbers show.
“Sexual offences continue to be crimes that are often committed behind closed doors and then not reported to the police for whatever reason and it’s important these victims receive the necessary support regardless of whether they wish to report to the police or not“.