Rise in Cleveland Police crime figures '˜not true representation' of offences in area

Police officers and councillors have both warned figures showing a 16% rise in crime do not necessarily show '˜a true reflection'.

Friday, 14th December 2018, 4:17 pm
Updated Friday, 14th December 2018, 4:22 pm
Crime has risen 16% in Cleveland Police area.
Crime has risen 16% in Cleveland Police area.

Hartlepool Borough Council audit and governance committee were told there was a 16% increase in recorded crime in Hartlepool between July and September compared to the same time last year.

In total there was 3,025 incidents during this period, a rise in 427.

This includes a rise by 183% in the number of stalking and harassment cases, from 112 last year to 317 for the same period in 2018.

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Rachel Parker, community safety team leader, said it was a positive more people are becoming aware of these issues.

She said: “There has been an overall increase but this is the smallest increase in the force area.

“There has been an increase in violent offences but this is primarily due to an increase in stalking and harassment offences which have more than doubled.

“I think that is more down to increased awareness around new offences and people’s confidence in reporting those offences to the police, and wider awareness being raised over these issues nationwide.”

Chief inspector Nigel Burnell, of Cleveland Police, commented the rise is not necessarily a negative and said numerous measures were being taken by police to improve issues.

He said: “We are stretched and there is a lot of demand coming in.

“There’s lots of instances where we would like to see a police officer but we have to be honest, is there a greater need elsewhere?

“There’s bigger work going on in Cleveland now transforming our services.

“I can’t change what happened some years ago or some months ago, but what I’m saying is now we’ve got dedicated PCSOs and people can tell them what’s going on.”

Police reported last week each ward will have a dedicated PCSO reporting attending surgeries and reporting back to officers of incidents in a bid tackle crimes in the area.

Councillors also urged people to report crimes to police to enable them to get the best picture of what is happening and focus resources.

Coun Rob Cook praised work police are doing under difficult financial times.

He said: “What we’ve been told here isn’t the true reflection but it’s the best reflection we’ve got.

“There aren’t just 10 officers, there are umpteen police, detectives, PCSOs, there’s 1,200 police in Cleveland, which we are part of.

“Regretfully because of the austerity and these massive, massive cuts we’ve lost 500 police in recent years. It’s unbelievably ridiculous when they’re expected to do the same job.

“It’s very difficult for police to prioritise over the phone and we have quite a lot of hoax calls.

“At the end of the day we as residents of Hartlepool and the surrounding area have got to support all services as best we can.

“People need to keep reporting crime, even if someone doesn’t turn up, if it’s not reported it’s not logged and as far as emergency services are concerned there are no problems in that area.”

Nic Marko , Local Democracy Reporting Service