17/05/2024

'Significant Reduction' In Crime Across Northern Ireland

The PSNI have recorded a "significant reduction" in crime across all districts in Northern Ireland in the last year.

Deputy Chief Constable Chris Todd welcomed the decrease in recorded crime, but also raised over the service's ability to "repeat such a strong performance" without finding sustainable funding.

The PSNI's latest annual recorded statistics provide an insight into recorded numbers around crime, anti-social behaviour, domestic abuse, hate-motivated crime and drug seizures.

Factoring in recent changes in the crime-recording process, it records that there were 7,067 fewer crimes compared to the previous 12 months. This is down by 6.3% from 2022/23 which is the equivalent of nearly 600 fewer crimes every month.

Anti-social behaviour is at a record low with 45,358 anti-social behaviour incidents in Northern Ireland, a decrease of 1,943 (or 4.1%) when compared with the previous 12 months.

Deputy Chief Constable Chris Todd said: "These very welcome reductions should come as reassurance to the public that Northern Ireland remains one of the safest parts of the UK to live, work and do business.

"These efforts are all the more remarkable given the significant resource pressures which our officers and staff have found themselves working under throughout this period. My colleagues have proven yet again that despite resource challenges, they continue to do their best to keep people safe.
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"However, I have some concerns that our ability to repeat such a strong performance is going to be at risk if we are unable to find a more effective and sustainable way to fund policing in Northern Ireland. We are now well into a new financial year and are still without a budget allocation.

"As the Chief Constable has made very clear to the Policing Board and others, our ability to support victims and investigate crime is being stretched to breaking point, and the burden is being felt by our officers and staff.

"While the overall decrease in crime is welcome, we are never complacent. There are some areas of concern particularly relating to hate-motivated incidents and shoplifting.

"We also continue to proactively track reports of violence, abuse and intimidation against women and girls and targeting neighbourhood policing resources to locations where they have reported feeling unsafe.

"As a result, we are arresting, on average, 73 people a month for the new domestic abuse offence, 15 people for stalking and since new legislation was introduced in June 2023, 77 people for non-fatal strangulation.

"Although domestic abuse crimes have reduced, incident reporting remains high which shows a willingness from victims to engage with us earlier so safeguarding measures can be taken before the behaviour escalates.

"We will continue to use every power available to us and send a strong message to all potential perpetrators, that despite the current financial challenges, we remain committed to doing all we can to keep people safe."

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