Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Crime Falls as Police Face Budget Cuts; North Forces Record Drop in Burglary, Violence and Drug Offences

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Crime Falls as Police Face Budget Cuts; North Forces Record Drop in Burglary, Violence and Drug Offences

Article excerpt

Byline: Sophie Doughty

BURGLARY, robbery and violent crime have plummeted despite budget cuts to police forces across the region, The Journal can reveal.

Crime figures have fallen across the North East in the past 12 months as police chiefs from Northumbria and Durham battle widespread Government cuts.

Rates of crime in the Northumbria Police area, which includes Tyne and Wear and Northumberland, is down by more than 8%, when compared with last year, and in County Durham and Darlington there has been a 9% drop.

Both forces have recorded a drop in violent crime, drug offences, burglary and criminal damage.

Durham has seen a rise in sexual offences, although police chiefs have claimed this is due to an increase in victims' confidence leading to more incidents being reported. Northumbria has seen a slight rise in drugs-related offences.

Durham's Chief Constable Jon Stoddart said the success had been achieved despite funding cuts, a freeze on police officer recruitment and a number of police staff redundancies.

He said: "We anticipated the financial difficulties and because our crime and disorder is falling our frontline officers and staff are more productive than ever.

"By going ahead with a force re-structure which will enable us to do more with less, we are in a good position to continue to maintain or improve our performance."

Northumbria Police is being forced to impose major changes to the way the force operates in order to cope with funding cuts of pounds 57m.

Police chiefs are looking to shed more than 825 civilian posts by March 2013. In addition to this, the force hopes to lose around 318 officers in the same time period by natural wastage.

But in the figures released last night, the total number of crimes reported dropped to 82,463 offences for in 2010/11, compared with 89,790 the previous year.

Violent crime has been cut by 10% and vehicle crime has fallen by more than 13%. …

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