New temporary chief constable insists: 'Northumbria remains one of the safest places in the country'

Acting Chief Constable Winton Keenan.
Acting Chief Constable Winton Keenan.

A police force's new acting chief constable has reacted to rising crime figures by insisting: "Northumbria remains one of the safest places in the country."

Temporary Chief Constable Winton Keenan was responding to quarterly figures issued by the Office of National Statistics covering the year ending September 2017.

They show increases in violence of 30 per cent to 38,467 offences throughout the Northumbria Police area with sex offences up 29 per cent to 4,096 cases.

Robberies have risen 25 per cent to 794 recorded offences and thefts by 20 per cent to 51,576 cases.

With overall crime now divided into two sets of categories, the larger set - mainly covering offences against people - shows an increase of 25 per cent to 141,238 offences

Fraud is now measured separately owing to the upsurge in cyber crime and shows an increase of less than six per cent since the year ending September 2016 with the number of offences increasing from 3,991 to 4,216.

​Temporary Chief Constable Keenan said: “While today’s figures indicate a rise in crime, it is important to put this into context and recognise that the number of incidents across Northumbria have not increased and in fact remain at the same level.

“The overall increase in crime is also reflective of the great strides we are making in crime recording as we look to be as compliant as possible with government standards.

“It is also encouraging to see that victims are more confident than ever before when reporting high-harm offences to us, such as sexual and domestic abuse.

“Northumbria remains one of the safest places in the country. We are proud to serve the people that live, work and visit here and will continue to do so by putting victims first and protecting vulnerable people in our communities.”

Nationwide, offences against people have risen 15 per cent over the same period to 4,668,693 offences.

Fraud offences across the United Kingdom have increased by 18 per cent to 272,980.

Breakdowns for individual locations within the Northumbria area have still to be revealed.

Police and Crime Commissioner Dame Vera Baird said: "In my role as Police and Crime Commissioner, I have a duty to speak up for local residents. I have asked the chief constable to provide me with a comprehensive review on these figures, focusing on issues such as theft.

"We are committed to ensuring high public confidence in Northumbria Police and encouraging the reporting of all crimes.

"We will do everything within our power to continue delivering a policing service that tackles crime and maintains the confidence of local residents.”