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KIM MCGUINNESS: WE ARE FIGHTING CRIME, PREVENTING CRIME & IMPROVING LIVES ACROSS NORTHUMBRIA

12th November 2020

Crime has fallen once again across Northumbria, continuing the trend seen over the past 12 months. With the region in lockdown earlier this year, crime fell at an even sharper rate than previously seen – with over 6,000 fewer crimes recorded following the first national lockdown.

Today Northumbria’s Police Commissioner Kim McGuinness praised a combination of proactive police work and a dedicated Violence Reduction Unit for operating throughout the lockdown, taking advantage of the restrictions to target criminals and keep crime down.

The latest data from the Office of National Statistics showed a further 13% reduction in total recorded crime.  These latest crime figures show a continued fall over the 12 month reporting period from June 2019 to June 2020. Along with a fall in overall crime, Northumbria saw knife crime, drug offences and violence against the person all fall.

Explaining the latest data, Kim McGuinness, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner said: “Despite the challenges brought upon the force by Covid-19, we have continued to fight crime and prevent crime. While it is understandable that certain crimes have fallen during this period, this cannot just be attributed to Covid.

“For example, knife crime had been on the decrease since before the lockdown measures and now, as of June 2020 has fallen by 17% – a reflection on the work we are doing to fight crime. Whilst one knife is still too many on our streets, it is extremely pleasing to see the impact we’ve made and this will continue.”

“The changes brought about as a result of lockdown enabled a range of operations and enforcement led work to take place – targeting criminals and tackling crimes that have had devastating impacts on victims. A number of operations have been successfully executed with arrests made, drugs & money seized, vehicles uplifted and our communities ultimately made safer.”

As previously reported, anti-social behaviour notably increased across the recording period, peaking between April – June 2020 when it rose by 101% vs the same period last year.

The Commissioner reassured residents that tackling anti-social behaviour was a priority for the force, and communities concerns were being listened to.

Kim said, “I understand the concerns from residents and we are addressing this as a priority – whether it be through additional funding for youth services to engage young people, or increased patrols on the Metro network to ensure people can travel safely.

“Nearly half of all ASB incidents during this period were Covid-19 breaches and reports, which is not surprising given the shocking communication and handling of this by the Government. We will continue to engage with members of the public, and ensure the guidelines are being followed – for their own safety more than anything else.”

In response to the increase in ASB, the Commissioner allocated over £135,000 to support some of the region’s smaller charities recover from the impact of the lockdown, and resume their much needed youth services for vulnerable young people.

One of the charities to benefit from this was Newsham and New Delaval Youth Forum, who used the funding to support vulnerable young people at risk of being involved in serious violence in South East Northumberland.

Commenting on the impact of the funding, Chris Antony said: “The funding allowed us to deploy workers in areas of most need, and we’ve engaged with over 220 young people since being awarded the funding – primarily around Blyth skate park and the Cottingwood Green area of Newsham. This has allowed us to develop relationships with the young people, challenge their behaviour and discuss the problematic situations that many find themselves in.”

With England now in another lockdown, and uncertainty around what future local restrictions may entail, the Commissioner acknowledged that the changing rules will continue to present challenges to policing.

Kim said: “With new guidance and restrictions, come additional challenges – the majority of our communities continue to follow these responsibly, however where there are clear and consistent breaches, enforcement will follow.

“ASB has not, and will not, just be an issue during Covid – the types of ASB may have changed, but these behaviours still blight communities and residents, and it has to be tackled. The public have told me through my Police & Crime Plan consultation that they want this tackled, and action will follow – everyone deserves to feel safe in their community.”

The Police & Crime Plan consultation is open until Friday 4th December and can be completed here: https://bit.ly/PCPCon2020