Responding to the release of the latest crime statistics for West Yorkshire from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner said: “West Yorkshire Police have been at the forefront of improving crime recording practises and have been praised by the Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) for their work.
However these changes have and will continue to have an impact on the figures making them look disproportionately high until a new base level is achieved and other police forces reach the same standards.
“The real rise in overall crime within West Yorkshire is actually around 4% and I will ensure that West Yorkshire Police continue to ethically record crimes and carry out full analysis so the public and our partners can understand the true picture.
“I was recently supported in this view by Councillor Alison Lowe, the Chair of the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel, the organisation that oversees my work to ensure it meets the needs of our communities. The Police and Crime Panel have monitored the changes to crime recording and Councillor Lowe pointed out the current issues in terms of a fair playing field on recording and that in real terms we are not markedly different from other metropolitan areas.
“The current data shows that the risk of household crime in West Yorkshire as of June 2016 stood at 10.7% and personal crime 2.9% which have both been improving consistently over the past few years.
“However crime statistic can only ever give an overview and are not reflective of the incredible effort West Yorkshire’s officers and staff put into keeping us all safe day in day out.
“We have a range of complex and demanding priorities including cyber crime, child sexual exploitation and missing people that we are working tirelessly to combat. This crucial work is not fully reflected or captured in these figures.
“Government cuts of £140m plus at the cost of over 2,000 police officers and staff since 2010 have made the situation increasingly challenging. However, I was able to set a budget last year to fund the recruitment of nearly 600 police officers this financial year and protect the current number of Police and Community Support Officers (PCSOs).
“We are well into this renewed recruitment with the latest campaign currently running. Several hundred of these new police officers are already on our streets making a real difference in our communities. Recruitment for PCSOs is also underway and applications to become a Special Constable are opening shortly too.
“I recently launched my new Police and Crime Plan with the aim of keeping West Yorkshire safe and feeling safe. The key outcomes focus on tackling crime and anti-social behaviour, safeguarding vulnerable people, making sure criminal justice works for communities and supporting victims and witnesses and I will be working with West Yorkshire Police and our partners to deliver on those.
“I pledged to put victims first and I will always do so, if you have been a victim of crime then please report it so you can get the support you need.
“To report a crime to West Yorkshire Police call 101 or for more options visit their website at https://www.westyorkshire.police.uk/ClickB4UCall you can also report anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”