EVERY type of crime has fallen across Northumberland and Tyne and Wear over the last year, according to latest figures.
Statistics gathered through the Crime Survey for England and Wales reveal that in the 12 months between September 2011 and September 2012, overall incidents fell by 10% in the Northumbria Police area, with significant falls in categories such as violent crime, which is down by 13%, and sexual offences which fell by 17%.
The force’s Chief Constable Sue Sim has attributed the fall to old-fashioned community policing.
She said: “This continuing fall in crime is excellent news and reflects the hard work going on in all our communities across Northumbria each and every day. Neighbourhood policing remains at the cornerstone of what we do and these reductions would not be possible without the support of a wide range of partners.”
Vehicle crime is also down by 16% over the year, while criminal damage has fallen 12%.
Crime has also fallen in the Durham Constabulary area. Total crime is down by 9%, robbery 20% and house burglaries 10%, though there was an increase of 4% in vehicle crime.
Nationally overall crime fell by 8% or around 800,000, to 8.9 million crimes.
Crime Prevention Minister Jeremy Browne said: “Crime continues to fall under this Government, down 8% in the year ending September 2012 according to the latest Crime Survey, and is now at the lowest level since the survey began.
“Police reform is working. We have swept away central targets, reduced bureaucracy and these figures show forces are rising to the challenge of doing more with less. Many have achieved significant reductions in crime with reduced budgets.
“We are improving the relationship between the police and the public through the introduction of Police and Crime Commissioners, giving the public a direct say in local policing for the first time, and we have established the College of Policing to enhance police professionalism and set the highest standards of integrity.”
However, some politicians have said questions now need to be asked about the differences between these crimes survey figures and those recorded by police forces.
Shadow policing minister David Hanson called for Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary to look at the discrepancies.
He said: “The continued reductions in crime, which have been going on for well over a decade now, emphasise the good work police have been doing for a number of years now.
“The Home Secretary should examine urgently whether, as the Office for National Statistics suggest, the cuts to police budgets mark a return to fewer crimes being recorded by the police.”
The Crime Survey for England and Wales, formally known as the British Crime Survey, measures the amount of crime by asking a cross-section of people whether they or anyone in their household has experienced crime in the past year.
It aims to get a more balanced view than figures released by police forces, which may be flawed by under-reporting of crime.
But Michael Rowe, professor of criminology at Northumbria University, has said that it is nearly impossible to ever get a true picture of how much crime there really is.
“Any method of measuring crime is always going to be flawed,” he said. “The crime survey is an accurate measure of certain types of crime, but whether crime is rising or falling overall is a very difficult thing to determine. The survey does not include experiences of young people.
“And it doesn’t include some forms of crime, for example, corporate crimes, which are crimes against businesses, and it doesn’t cover a lot of online crime, and sometimes people don’t even know they have been a victim of online crime.”
Whether crime is rising or falling overall is a very difficult thing to determine