Violent offences in Wiltshire are now higher than pre-pandemic levels according to statistics released today (28th April 2022) by the Office for National Statistics.
With various lockdown restrictions during the pandemic, the number of offences recorded overall dropped, but figures released today show an increase of more than 9% of violence against the person in the 12 months leading up to December 2021, compared to the same time period in 2019.
Police and Crime Commissioner, Philip Wilkinson said, “Violence can have a devastating impact on victims and the wider community, and collectively across the criminal justice system, including the police, we need to make sure that we are breaking the cycle of crime.
“Not only must we proactively and robustly punish those who commit offences but work together to prevent crime from happening in the first place, in addition to ensuring that offenders have every opportunity and the support in place to be rehabilitated to stop them committing further offences.
“My police and crime plan identifies violent crime as a key priority for both Wiltshire Police and my office for the next three years and looks at practical measures to reduce offences and make Wiltshire safer.”
Despite the increase in violent offences, there were some areas where a decrease was recorded by Wiltshire Police:
- A 40% decrease in theft offences on the pre-covid period, which can be explained by three months of lockdown restrictions being in place.
- Decrease of nearly 50% in overall burglary offences, which includes both residential and non-residential burglaries.
- Criminal damage and arson offences dropped by 14% with 800 fewer offences being recorded.
According to Wiltshire Police, in the past two years, nearly 100 new officers have joined the Force in addition to those recruited to replace those leaving or retiring. More are due to start in the next year which will see Wiltshire at its highest number of 1,165 police officers in March 2023 from its lowest figure of 934.
“The majority of the extra officers recruited so far have been deployed to community policing teams with the focus of improving neighbourhood policing and community engagement.
“We’re already starting to see the initial benefits of these additional officers and I continue to work with the Chief Constable to ensure that visible community policing remains central to future plans,” added Mr Wilkinson.