Kent Police - surely to be followed by other forces - are crowing about the reduction in crime within the County:
The figures are for the rolling year October 2009 to September 2010, and show that all crime in Kent has fallen by 3.9 per cent, compared to the same period in the previous year (08/09).
This means there were 4,389 fewer crimes in Kent and Medway.
Kent Deputy Chief Constable Alan Pughsley said: 'We are pleased these very serious offences have seen major reductions in Kent, where figures were low in the first instance.
"We aim to make Kent as safe a place as possible, and we are completely committed to tackling violent crime and to bringing those responsible for it to justice."
The 'very serious offences' refers to a nearly 7% drop in violent crime - a pattern being repeated across the country. However, I do wonder about some of these figures - almost all the drop in volume crime relates to a drop in criminal damage and vehicle crime. The other volume crimes - the things that really affect people have all increased:
- Burglary up by 2.3 per cent, or 286 crimes
- Robbery up by six per cent, or 53 crimes
- Theft up by 3.8 per cent, or 1,023 crimes
It seems to me that the drop in crime has little or nothing to do with policing - or else the drop would be in the main targets of police activity such as burglary and street crime. However, there is a clue to police activity in these increases:
- Drugs offences up by 8.5 per cent, or 338 crimes
- Sex offences up by 15.6 per cent, or 205 crimes.
The police spokesman claimed that these increases were entirely down to their efforts:
'The increase in the number of drugs offences recorded actually highlights our commitment to detecting and dismantling not only organised crime groups involved in the cultivation, production and trafficking of drugs, but also individuals who peddle drugs in our communities.'
The point here isn't to criticise the police but to observe that the drivers of crime are not the number of coppers, the strategies used or indeed policies on sentencing. The factors most influencing crime relate to its ease - hence the drop in car crime since it got harder to steal cars - and the dutch courage needed. It should be no surpirse to see that (since licensing liberalisation) reducing consumption of alcohol has led to reduced violent crime and less criminal damage.