Police pledge after 22% rise in South Tyneside crime rate

Chief Superintendent Sarah Pitt
Chief Superintendent Sarah Pitt

Police chiefs have pledged to continue the fight against crime after new figures show a 22% rise in offences.

Office of National Statistics figures show there were 15,834 reported offences between July 2017 and June 2018, up by 22% on the previous year, when 12,995 incidents were recorded.

Reported crime is on the increase in South Tyneside

Reported crime is on the increase in South Tyneside

That means there is a crime for at least one in every 10 residents in South Tyneside - well above national average.

Chief Superintendent Sarah Pitt of Northumbria Police said: “The way police forces across the country record crime has drastically changed and this has led to an increase in crime figures.

“In South Tyneside we have seen a rise in crime, but what is pleasing though is that there has been decrease in violent crimes and offences involving weapons. We have also seen hate crime continually fall.

“However, what we have seen an increase in is the reporting of historic sexual offences and cyber-crime offences, which is reflective of the national picture.

“It is great to see that our work in tackling anti-social behaviour has seen reports of this nature fall significantly, and this has continued to improve the quality of life for many residents across the area.

“This is thanks to the hard work of our police officers and our partners, who we will continue to work with to tackle crime and respond to the needs of those within our communities.”

The statistics are based on crimes reported to the police, and the ONS urges caution in interpreting some of the figures.

It says some offences go unreported while others may be more numerous due to a change in the focus of the police or greater public attention.

However, the ONS believes crimes such as burglary and theft, which are generally well reported and recorded, have genuinely increased.

Despite nationally rising, gun and knife possession offences in South Tyneside have dropped by four, to 121 incidents.

There were 537 residential burglaries reported in 2017-18 but, due to a change in how the ONS categorises burglaries, the localised figures cannot be compared with other years.

Theft increased by 13% but drugs related offences dropped by 10%.

Criminal damage in South Tyneside - which includes arson and vandalising cars and houses - has gone up, from 2,267 incidents in 2016-17, to 2,462.

While violence with injury, which includes assault, GBH and wounding, has risen, this could just be due to improved police recording as opposed to an increase in incidents.

Similarly sexual crime statistics are hard to judge as many more victims are now coming forward due to a series of high profile cases.

In South Tyneside there were 480 incidents recorded between July 2017 and June 2018, a 34% rise on the previous year, when 359 crimes were reported.

There were also 1,750 cases of stalking and harassment reported over the same period.

Chief Constable Bill Skelly, of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said: “Rising crime is placing greater demand on policing, as forces strive to reduce crime as well as respond to a growing terrorist threat.

“There are also more calls from the public for help, including responding to people in crisis when other agencies lack their own capacity.”

Labour described the ONS statistics as “truly shocking” and accused the Tories of “failing in their duty to protect the public and keep our citizens safe”.

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said: “These figures are a tragic indictment of this Tory government’s policies.”

Policing Minister Nick Hurd said: “This Government is determined to tackle all types of crime – and although the chance of being a victim remains low, we are taking decisive action in a number of areas.