Crime soars by 37pc in just 3 years

Big rises in rob­bery, ha­rass­ment and hate crime Po­lice cuts blamed for surge in of­fend­ing

Accrington Observer - - FRONT PAGE - JON MACPHER­SON

CRIME in Hyn­d­burn has risen by 37 per cent in just three years, shock­ing new fig­ures have re­vealed. An av­er­age of more than 620 crimes per month have been com­mit­ted over the last year, with po­lice record­ing sharp rises in vi­o­lence, do­mes­tic abuse and hate crimes. There were also more shoplift­ing and rob­bery of­fences com­mit­ted.

The fig­ures were re­vealed in a spe­cial re­port by po­lice to Hyn­d­burn coun­cil’s com­mu­ni­ties and well­be­ing over­view and scru­tiny com­mit­tee. Its chair­man Coun Glen Har­ri­son said he was shocked by how much crimes had gone up across the board. The fig­ures have led to calls from both sides of the po­lit­i­cal di­vide for more po­lice on the streets.

Con­ser­va­tive group leader Tony Dob­son called for fur­ther coun­cil tax rises to fund more of­fi­cers.

SHOCK­ING po­lice fig­ures have re­vealed crime has been ris­ing across the board in Hyn­d­burn for the past three years.

More than 620 crimes per month have been com­mit­ted this year, up 14 per cent on last year and 37 per cent higher than the rate in 2014/15.

There have been surges in sev­eral cat­e­gories of crimes with vi­o­lence, do­mes­tic abuse and hate crimes ris­ing sharply, ac­com­pa­nied by spikes in ac­quis­i­tive crimes, par­tic­u­larly shoplift­ing and rob­bery.

The Po­lice and Crime Com­mis­sioner says the sta­tis­tics high­light the in­creas­ing de­mands on of­fi­cers both in Hyn­d­burn and across Lan­cashire.

The fig­ures were re­vealed in a spe­cial re­port by po­lice to Hyn­d­burn coun­cil’s com­mu­ni­ties and well­be­ing over­view and scru­tiny com­mit­tee. The fig­ures were pre­sented by po­lice in­spec­tor Steve Rides.

Scru­tiny com­mit­tee chair­man Coun Glen Har­ri­son said he was ‘shocked at the mag­ni­tude by how much crimes had gone up across the board’ and fears that ‘dire’ cuts to front­line po­lice officer num­bers have en­cour­aged crim­i­nal­ity to flour­ish.

Coun Har­ri­son said: “I was shocked at the mag­ni­tude by how much it had gone up across the board.

“I an­tic­i­pated they would be bad be­cause if you are ex­pect­ing the same ser­vice but putting less re­sources in then it stands to rea­son that some­thing has got to give. In­vari­ably what has given here is the crime fig­ures have rock­eted in Hyn­d­burn. I do be­lieve the po­lice are do­ing as much as they can do with what they’ve got but they need more.”

Hyn­d­burn MP Gra­ham Jones said aus­ter­ity and ‘dras­tic cuts’ in polic­ing were to blame for the rise in crime.

He said: “Fam­ily bud­gets and in­di­vid­u­als are un­der in­creas­ing pres­sure be­cause of aus­ter­ity. At the same time the num­ber of po­lice has been dras­ti­cally cut back. You don’t see them on the beat any more and crim­i­nals can see this.

“They know there’s less chance of them get­ting caught and are com­mit­ting more crimes.” Lan­cashire County Coun­cil voted in Fe­bru­ary to re­move £265,000 part fund­ing to­wards 17 PCSOs across the county.

And res­i­dents across Hyn­d­burn will pay £8 a year more (the rate for band A homes) to the Po­lice Com­mis­sioner in 2018/19 as part of mea­sures to raise an ex­tra £5 mil­lion for the Con­stab­u­lary.

Rob­bery, do­mes­tic abuse, ha­rass­ment, pub­lic or­der and sex­ual of­fences (ex­clud­ing rape) have all seen ‘ ex­cep­tion­ally’ large rises in the last 12 months.

Huge in­creases have all been seen in of­fences caus­ing pub­lic fear, alarm or dis­tress, pub­lic or­der of­fences, do­mes­tic abuse, and ha­rass­ment.

Shop own­ers in Ac­cring­ton say they have seen a big in­crease in crime.

Donna Green­wood re­cently took over Bou­tique 23 on Warner Street which was bur­gled in Jan­uary this year. She said: “There have been five or six places that have been bur­gled around here re­cently, but there’s no deterrent. There are no po­lice of­fi­cers or cars go­ing up and down. It’s very quiet.

“It’s not just hap­pen­ing in shops but there are more in­ci­dents in the streets and peo­ple are get­ting robbed in their own houses. It’s ter­ri­ble.”

Tracey Glegg, who runs Hair & Faces hair­dressers on Bank Street, was also bur­gled ear­lier this year. She said: “We’ve had var­i­ous things pinched but that was the first time in 21 years that they have caught some­one and jailed them. It cost me £500 to re­pair the dam­age but I didn’t want to claim on my in­surance be­cause my pre­mi­ums could dou­ble.

“I’ve had more in­ci­dents now than a few years ago. There are more peo­ple try­ing [to com­mit crimes] and you just have to try and se­cure your premises more. I think peo­ple re­alise there aren’t enough po­lice about. If they are a burglar or a thief then they know they aren’t around to catch them.”

Con­ser­va­tive group leader Coun Tony Dob­son called for fur­ther coun­cil tax in­creases to fund more po­lice of­fi­cers. He said: “Ob­vi­ously it’s dis­ap­point­ing to see the crime fig­ures go­ing up. I think we are prob­a­bly get­ting to the stage where we do need as a com­mu­nity to start pay­ing that lit­tle bit ex­tra in tax to im­prove those lo­cal ser­vices that we are ab­so­lutely pas­sion­ate about or ab­so­lutely need.”

in Hyn­d­burn has risen sharply in the three years up to Fe­bru­ary 2018

Coun­cil­lor Glen Har­ri­son, chair of Hyn­d­burn coun­cil’s com­mu­ni­ties and well­be­ing over­view and scru­tiny com­mit­tee (left) and Hyn­d­burn po­lice in­spec­tor Steve Rides

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