CRIME AT LOWEST LEVEL FOR 30 YEARS, FIGURES REVEAL; Police Celebrate 'Outstanding' Results as Statistics Suggest Communities Safer Than a Year Ago

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Byline: Liz Day liz.day@walesonline.co.uk

COMMUNITIES in South Wales are safer than they have been for decades, after latest figures suggest crime has fallen to a record low.

Data released by the Office for National Statistics yesterday showed crime in South Wales fell by 5% between September 2011 and 2012, achieving the lowest level of crime for three decades.

Assistant chief constable of South Wales Police Julian Kirby said the results - taken from the National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS), which measures policerecorded Any crime - were outstanding. disappointing. been "The figures show that crime in South Wales is at its lowest for 30 years - something we are very proud of," he said.

"Anyone who commits a crime, including those people who repeatedly offend, needs to know that they will not be left alone.

"We are focused on arresting criminals and putting them in court."

According to the figures, criminal damage dropped significantly by 14%, while drug offences were down by 12% and robberies fell by 6%.

In total, it represents 4,375 fewer victims of crime in South Wales.

But some areas showed an increase in crime levels, including a 10% rise in sexual offences and a 4% rise in burglaries.

Assistant chief constable Kirby said there was no room for complacency.

"It is very distressing to become a victim of crime," he said. "Any increase in figures is disappointing. However, steps have been taken to redress this."

Police and crime commissioner for South Wales Alun Michael said he hoped crime levels would continue to fall.

He said: "The continued drop in crime is a great result for South Wales Police, and the communities we serve.

"The hard work of the officers and staff has made sure that despite the financial challenges faced, crime has continued to fall."

have " Cardiff Central MP Jenny Willott said: "These new figures area sign of the hard work of our police forces."She added: "It is clear that the answer to crime is not simply to lock people up for longer periods, but instead to reform the system, so we can tackle the root cause of the problem and ensure that upon release, offenders are ready, willing and able to make a positive contribution to society."

Neighbouring force area Gwent saw the biggest reduction in crime in England and Wales, with a 20% reduction in offences over the 12-month period.

The figures showed a total of 34,903 crimes were committed between September 2011 and 2012, compared to 43,395 in the previous year. …