Statement in response to latest crime statistics

The latest Office of National Statistic (ONS) crime figures for England and Wales have been published (Thursday 26 January 2023) which cover the 12-month period ending September 2022.

During this period, crime in Norfolk increased by 4.8%, with total recorded crime being 69,208, an increase of 3,178 additional crimes.

Police chiefs have said the figures reflect the significant demand policing is facing, in line with pre-pandemic levels.

The force has seen reductions in drug, public order, house burglaries and stalking and harassment offences*. Meanwhile, sexual, violence and robbery offences have increased along with weapons possession.

Chief Constable Paul Sanford said: “Collectively, the figures once again show Norfolk remains a safe place to live, despite the overall increase in crime of 4.8%, which is lower than the national average of 12.6% for England and Wales and the regional average which is 8%. 

“As highlighted in our recent HMICFRS inspection published in October last year, Norfolk is a strong performing force, and my officers and staff are committed in their efforts to tackle the crimes that matters most to our communities.

“It’s pleasing to see reductions in house burglary and public order offences. There’s also been a reduction in drug offences however, it doesn’t mean we’ve taken our focus away from drug dealers, it’s a reflection of our changed approach with county lines drugs activity. Over the last three years our focus has been on targeting those in charge of the lines through communications data. This allows us to close lines and stop the flow of class A drugs into Norfolk.”

The latest figures show 793 weapons possession offences were recorded in the 12 months ending September 2022. This equates to an increase of 270 offences compared to 523 from the previous 12 months between October 2020 and September 2021. Mr Sanford said: “This period contained several lockdowns during the coronavirus pandemic which coincided with a large drop in these offences being recorded and this trend is being seen nationally, not just in Norfolk.”

The figures also show a reduction in stalking and harassment offences, which has been attributed to recording practices. The force has invested heavily in recent years to make sure crime recording practices meet the high standards set nationally. While the force remains confident in these practices, it has identified ‘over-recording’ in harassment cases.

Mr Sanford added: “We are under significant pressure as a service with increasing demand and complexity. Last year we took 120,000 999 calls, 16,000 more than the previous year and many of these are not related to crime. As a service we find ourselves responding to people in mental health crisis and this takes us away from our core business. However, we will always seek to prioritise the areas of policing that the public want and need.”

Drug offences down 15.7%

Public order down 4.5%

House burglaries down 3.2%

Stalking and harassment down 10.8%