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Minister welcomes further decrease in recorded crime

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Home Affairs Minister Juan Watterson MHK has welcomed evidence of another significant decrease in the level of recorded crime in the Isle of Man.

Already at a 35-year low, recorded crime in the Island fell by a further 4.2% during 2013-14, with substantial reductions across many categories.

A total of 2,110 crimes were recorded for the 12 months from 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2014, representing a 17.6% drop against the average for the past three years and a 60% decrease since the turn of the century.

The overall detection rate stood at nearly 50%, which remains much higher than the figure registered by the 44 police forces in England and Wales (28.9% for 2012-13).

The end-of-year crime performance statistics are highlighted in the Chief Constable’s Annual Report for 2013-14, which will be laid before the July sitting of Tynwald.

Against a backdrop of generally positive news, the report shows that the Isle of Man Constabulary has achieved notable success in terms of combating domestic burglary, now at its lowest level for 25 years, criminal damage, assaults and public order offences.

Some categories of crime did experience an increase in the number of offences, such as the reporting of domestic violence and sexual abuse. The Chief Constable says this demonstrates a strong degree of trust in the police and a belief among victims that they will be listened to.

Minister Watterson said:

‘The effectiveness of the Isle of Man Constabulary in continuing to drive down crime is to be commended. The number of recorded crimes has fallen from more than 6,000 in 1999 to just over 2,000 in 2014, which is a remarkable achievement and reaffirms the widely-held belief that the Isle of Man is one of the safest places to live in the British Isles.’

He added:

‘I must however sound a note of caution. Early indications are that these historically low crime figures have bottomed out and may start to rise in the future. Certain categories, including acquisitive crimes such as burglary and theft, are where increases are most likely, so I would urge members of the public to guard against complacency and play their part in keeping crime low. Most crime in the Island is opportunist in nature, which means it is easily preventable.’

‘A low level of crime supports Government’s national priorities of protecting vulnerable people and growing the economy. A safe environment and good quality of life are important factors in terms of attracting new investment into the Isle of Man.’

Headline figures from the Chief Constable’s annual report for 2013-14 show –

  • 2,110 crimes were recorded, a reduction of 4.2%
  • The overall crime detection rate was 49.2%
  • The number of burglaries in people’s homes fell by 13 to 46, the lowest for the past 25 years
  • Offences of criminal damage decreased by 19.3% against the previous year
  • The number of non-domestic assaults fell by 9.1%, representing a drop of 23.7% against the three-year average
  • 94.7% of recorded drug-related offences were detected, with significant seizures of heroin and cocaine
  • Public order offences decreased by more than 17%
  • Police officer sickness levels fell by 16%

The statistics reflect the Isle of Man Constabulary’s continued investment in crime reduction, with resources focused on prolific offenders, vulnerable victims and identifying ‘hot spot’ locations.

However, the annual report says the effectiveness of the police should not be judged solely on the level of recorded crime. Modern policing involves a diverse and complex range of activity, including preventative work at neighbourhood level and the protection of young and vulnerable people, in addition to investigating criminal offences.

The report also points to evolving demands and the impact of budgetary cuts, which are set to result in changes aimed at modernising the Isle of Man Constabulary in line with its financial targets.

Minister Watterson said:

‘The Isle of Man can be proud of its police force and the efforts of the Chief Constable and his team. The Constabulary is continuing to rise to the challenge of delivering a high quality service against the backdrop of budgetary restraint. Changes will be announced soon that will make the Constabulary leaner, more focused and even better placed to keep the Island safe.’

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