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Crime figures rise in North Devon but fall in Torridge

14:27 09 April 2014

Archant

Chief Inspector for North and West Devon says ‘measures have been put in place’ to combat crime in rural areas.

CRIME across North Devon has risen slightly, as opposed to Torridge where it has dropped in the last year, according to new police figures.

The news comes as Devon and Cornwall Police’s crime figures for April 1, 2013 until March 31, 2014, show an overall 0.3 per cent reduction in crime across the county.

There have been 131 more crimes in North Devon than last year - a three per cent increase – whereas Torridge has seen a three per cent drop with 80 less crimes.

Across the whole of Devon, the figures state last year saw ‘historically low’ levels in burglary and vehicle crimes, but an increase in violent and sexual offences.

Domestic abuse rose by 886 crimes, violence without injury increased by 668 crimes, sexual offences rose by 128 crimes and criminal damage rose by 553 crimes.

Chief Inspector for North and West Devon, Shaun Kenneally, said the force recognised there had been a slight increase but had put measures in place to combat it.

“We have had an overall decrease in crime in some areas and an increase in others,” he said.

“We have worked hard this year and put in place measures to try and combat those increases.

“At a force level we were working on a very functional level; we had response officers based in a ‘hub’ at different locations.

“But while this may have improved our response time, we recognise we weren’t sufficiently visible in rural areas.

“We have now focused on these areas, specifically Torrington, South Molton and Holsworthy, where we have five new response officers in each area.”

Chief Superintendent Paul Davies, Devon commander, welcomed the reduction in crime but acknowledged there are some areas which need more attention.

He said: “Domestic abuse, which accounts for about a third of all violent crime, remains a high priority for us.

“This, along with sexual offences, is an area that has been traditionally under-reported to police.

“Officers have concentrated on encouraging victims to report incidents to police, which may help to explain why the number of incidents in this area has increased.

“We know there are challenges ahead in tackling levels of violent crime, particularly alcohol-related violence and these are areas we will be focusing particular attention on this year.”

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