In the year following the introduction of Covid restrictions last March, Wiltshire recorded a significant drop in recorded crime.
The Office of National Statistics has released figures for the 12 months leading up to March 2021, which shows the Force recorded a reduction in nearly all crime types.
Despite the decrease in overall crime, there were still some crime types that saw an increase in the previous 12 months:
- A 12% increase in violence against the person with Wiltshire Police seeing exceptional demand for this crime type last summer.
- Miscellaneous crimes against society increased by 32%, miscellaneous crime is made up of different types of crime including fly tipping, perverting the course of justice and possession of indecent photographs of children for example.
- Stalking and Harassment offences jumped by 14% after the Force changed the way in which it recorded offences and improved confidence from the public to report offences.
Unsurprisingly, with stores being closed shoplifting reports saw a significant reduction of 43% and with people spending most of the past year at home – domestic burglaries also dropped by 36%.
Acting PCC, Kieran Kilgallen said: “In a year where people spent most of their time at home it’s not surprising that recorded crime has dropped by more than a sixth.
“That said, we know that many crimes will have been committed behind closed doors and then not reported to the police for whatever reason and it’s important these victims receive the necessary support regardless of whether they wish to report to the police or not.
“The OPCC is committed to ensuring that all victims receiving the support they need and commission a number of specialist support services to help those affected by crime.
“Wiltshire Police are already starting to see crime levels increase and resourcing across the Force has remained under review by the Chief Constable to ensure that officers and staff are placed in the areas they are most needed to react to the lifting of restrictions.”
The crime statistics come at the same time as the latest police workforce data was published by the Home Office which shows Wiltshire on track to recruit their share of the 20,000 additional officers as part of the Government’s police uplift programme with 49 being recruited in the first year.
The Government’s national campaign is set to fund a total of 148 new officers in Wiltshire over the next three years – in addition to numbers already planned to replace leavers – bringing the expected number of serving officers to 1,150 by March 2023.
The data also shows an increase in ethnic minority officers and staff across Wiltshire Police from 1.89% in March 2020 to 2.5% in March 2021. There was also an increase in the number of female officers from 35% to 36.7% most recently.