Friday, 15 December 2017

Offences fall by six per cent in year

CRIME in the Henley area has fallen by 6.4 per cent over the past year.

CRIME in the Henley area has fallen by 6.4 per cent over the past year.

The number of offences in the Henley police sector, which includes Sonning Common, Rotherfield Peppard and Goring as well as surrounding villages, dropped from 1,478 to 1,384 in the 12 months to March 31.

It is at least the third year in a row that the crime rate has fallen.

However, the detection rate fell slightly in the past year from 28.4 per cent to 26 per cent.

In Henley alone, the number of offences dropped from 841 to 829 while the detection rate was 33 per cent, compared with 31.4 per cent the previous year.

However, the number of domestic burglaries and incidents of shoplifting both increased.

Insp Mark Harling, head of Henley police, said: “Given that crime has dropped over the past few years, I am pleased we have seen another reduction, albeit a small one.

“That means that we have fewer victims of crime and that more crime has been detected.”

Burglaries in the town rose from 30 offences to 54 and there were also eight attempted burglaries.

Insp Harling said: “The burglary situation is the main thing I worry about because I know that being the victim of a burglary has a really dramatic effect on you.

“We have got to do all we can to make sure that we reduce the opportunity for people to become victims. The police and homeowners need to make it as difficult as possible for properties to be broken into.

“We are doing our best to help people who we know are vulnerable to becoming involved in crime to stay on the straight and narrow.

“Homeowners need to review their security and make sure that they stay as vigilant as possible.”

The number of burglaries at other buildings fell from 62 to 48 but Insp Harling said: “We are still trying to get the message across to people about making sheds, outhouses and those types of buildings secure because they are relatively easy targets.”

Shoplifting offences increased from 92 to 108.

Insp Harling said: “Offenders are travelling quite far to steal from Henley shops. The town is close to some really good transport links so they can come along the M40 into the area, commit crime and go away again.”

There is to be a relaunch of a Shop Watch system which allows traders to alert each other as well as the police if they suspect thieves are in the town.

Insp Harling said: “It’s about giving the retailers some teeth to be able to try to prevent other crimes happening and make it as difficult as possible for people to steal.

“The CCTV system we have in the town is really useful because when we find out that somebody is shoplifting we can alert the operators who can then look out for them.”

The number of drugs-related offences rose from 66 to 88 but Insp Harling said these were harder to detect.

He said: “If your car gets broken into, we know that is a crime and you are going to tell us about it but if you are smoking pot, we know that is a crime but you are not going to tell us — it takes the police to find it.”

The number of public order offences went up from 29 to 44 and the number of assault cases increased from 40 to 42.

Thefts from motor vehicles fell from 49 to 38 and the number of cases of criminal damage went from 117 to 90.

The other offences included affray (4), assault without injury (28), breach of a non-molestation order (4), breach of sexual offences act (1), owner in charge of a dangerous dog (2), exposure (2), forgery (3), fraud (11), going equipped (2), grevious bodily harm (4), handling/receiving of stolen goods (4), harrassment (10), ill treatment of a vulnerable adult (1), making off without payment (15), perverting the course of justice (3), possession of article with a blade/point (1), possession of a firearm (1), possession of other weapons (3), racially aggravated public order offence (4), sexual assault on a female (2), theft by an employee (5), theft from a person (13), theft of a dwelling (21), unclassified theft (117), theft or unauthorised taking of mail (3), theft of a motor vehicle (6), theft of a bicycle (24), taking without an owner’s consent (1) and vehicle interference (6).

Insp Harling praised Neighbourhood Watch, saying: “It is so useful being able to get messages out to people.

“We have got some very diligent Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinators right across the sector who do a tremendous job in making sure their neighbours and friends are aware of crimes happening and looking out for each other.”

He also praised his staff, including the police community support officers.

Insp Harling said: “We have got some very diligent and committed police officers and Pcsos who are keen to make sure that when a crime is committed we do our utmost to make sure that the person responsible is found.

“They take their work very seriously and I know that everybody is working really hard to prevent crime occurring.

“The police officers have definitely got the hardest job, not me. Week in, week out they are in the town centre in the freezing cold while people shout and swear at them to try and making sure no one causes trouble and no one gets hurt.”

In the South Oxfordshireand Vale of White Horse police area crime fell 9.8 per cent during the same period with a detection rare of 27.9 per cent.

This was the second best performance by any police sector in the Thames Valley Police area.

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