West Midlands Police ended 2012 by making history with the lowest crime levels ever recorded in the region.
By targeting offenders, officers and staff from across the force worked tirelessly to drive crime down to lows not seen in modern history. This is despite high profile campaigns actively encouraging members of the public to report offences such as domestic abuse and drink-driving.
December 2012 saw 13,811 offences ranging from murder to criminal damage recorded with this figure beating the previously lowest ever month for crime (September) by 861 offences. This is a drop of 5.8 per cent compared to December 2011.
The figures released today are based on stringent, nationally agreed definitions which remain unchanged since 2002 meaning like for like crimes are being compared; yet force analysts searching pre-21 century data were unable to find a month or a year with lower crime levels.
Senior officers are attributing the drop to robust offender management, close partnership working and local people who have heeded police warnings, bolstered security and are increasingly confiding in local officers about those responsible for crime in their area.
Examples from December include the force annual Christmas campaign to take drink and drug-drivers off the road and a renewed push to get men and women who are abused by partners to seek help.
Broader festive crime reduction messages were also shared with large audiences through the force’s first crime related online advent calendar and the Letters of the Law initiative which provides people with a behind the badge glimpse of crime fighting.
A major offensive on alcohol fuelled crime was also launched in the run up to ‘mad Friday’ – the last Friday before Christmas. As part of blitz on binge drinking, officers in a range of roles took to the micro-blogging site Twitter to tweet from the beat about their unseen efforts to keep locals safe.
“Initiatives such as these help demonstrate that we haven’t ‘fudged the figures’ as sceptics may claim,” said Assistant Chief Constable Garry Forsyth.
“The reality is that despite unprecedented changes in policing at a local and national level, West Midlands Police is performing extremely well. So much so, last month ensured that the West Midlands saw the lowest levels of crime ever recorded in the force area.”
But ACC Forsyth is urging people not just to take his word for it.
Independent research conducted on behalf of West Midlands Police proves that local people are feeling the difference too, with almost nine out of 10 people (85 per cent) questioned believing that the police do a good job. A figure which Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) confirms is higher than the national rate.
“December saw sustained rainfall and we accept that the rain will have helped deter some offences being committed, but the weather alone does not account for the steady and sustained reductions documented over the course of the last few months and the past decade as a whole.
“The reality is that our officers and staff have achieved this phenomenal result against a backdrop of unprecedented change in policing and I thank them for their tireless dedication and professionalism during this time,” added ACC Forsyth.
“These are genuinely encouraging results for the people of the West Midlands but there is still much more we and our partners can do to make our region safer. With the public’s help, support and valuable information, I believe we can continue to make a real difference.”
For crime statistics visit: www.police.uk