Statement on latest crime figures from West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (21 Jul 2016)

Crime figures released today show that overall recorded crime in West Yorkshire has risen as the impact of the latest changes in how West Yorkshire Police records crime continues to be shown.

These figures, released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), show that overall recorded crime has risen by 28.5% in the 12 months from April 2015 to March 2016. However the ONS has clearly noted that the majority of the rise is due to improved recording practices.

West Yorkshire Police have been working to make sure their recording processes are more consistent which has led to these latest statistics in line with the National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS).

Previously, while crimes were being properly investigated, they were not always recorded correctly, particularly at the initial stage, however this has now been rectified in West Yorkshire along with other police forces across England and Wales.

Closer analysis of the crime data shows that the actual increase was around 4.5%.

West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson said:

"It's important to put these latest figures into context...albeit dating back to March this year.

"Crime data and the way crime is now better recorded in West Yorkshire have had a significant impact on the recorded crime figures as noted by the Office for National Statistics.

"West Yorkshire has been praised by the independent inspectorate (HMIC) for the approach we have taken to recording crime, and the increases have been anticipated following these important sustained efforts to improve crime recording practices.

"It is, of course, a concern that the number of recorded public order, violence without injury and sexual offences have increased. Some of these increases can be accounted for in part by historic offences, increased confidence in reporting and more consistent recording of these crime types. I will be raising this with the Temporary Chief Constable to discuss what more can be done to bring these figures down, but I am expecting a new baseline to be established this year.

"Severe government cuts of £140m since 2010 have resulted in the loss of around 2000 police jobs which continues to have an impact in our communities and the pressure this puts on the police. However, I have continually protected the frontline as much as possible and this year I have set a budget to recruit hundreds (600) new police officers and will protect the number of PCSOs locally who do a vital job in keeping us safe. It's crucial that we now start to rebuild our police numbers following years of Government austerity cuts to policing in West Yorkshire.

"I have also given out over £1.3m through the Safer Communities Fund, which puts the proceeds of crime back into our communities, by supporting local work to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour, and provide support to victims and witnesses which involves more 300 groups and organisations throughout West Yorks.

"Anyone that has been a victim of crime or feels like that may have been a victim should come forward and report it to the police and be reassured that if they do, reports will be taken seriously and appropriate support will be put in place for any victims, including further support at Help for Victims"

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