While crime in Greater Manchester continues to fall, officers are working hard to address an increase in two types of offence over the past year.
Figures released today, Thursday 17 October 2013, confirm that sexual offences have gone up by 15% and thefts from people in public have increased by 17%.
The statistics, released by the Home Office for the 12-month period between 1 July 2012 and 30 June 2013, show that overall crime is down by nine per cent.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Greater Manchester, Tony Lloyd said: “It’s good news for the communities of Greater Manchester that crime continues to fall. This is thanks to the commitment of GMP officers and staff and the unique partnership model we have in Greater Manchester of local people working with the police and other agencies to build safer communities.
“But we need to remember that behind the statistics are real victims. A drop in crime will be no comfort to the family that have just been burgled or the elderly lady who’s just been robbed, which is why we need to make sure the needs of victims are at the centre of everything we do.
“The increase in sexual offences suggests that the horrific cases of sexual abuse involving Jimmy Savile and other high-profile individuals has encouraged more victims to come forward to report abuse. Greater Manchester Police has improved the way it deals with these horrific crimes and has a team of specialised officers dedicated to investigating them. These victims have made a brave first step, and we need to make sure they are at the heart of what we do and are supported throughout the criminal justice process.”
Deputy Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said: “These figures demonstrate that victims of sexual offences are continuing to have more confidence in coming to the police, which is a positive thing.
“The rise also coincides with the introduction of dedicated units investigating serious sexual offences in June 2012, bringing about more consistent crime recording practices across the force.
“There has also been an increase in the number of historic offences, high-profile investigations into Jimmy Savile and other celebrities led to a nationwide increase in the number of people having the confidence to report historic abuse to the police.
“Broadly speaking however, it is clear that these figures say more about how better equipped GMP is in supporting victims through the investigative process.”
The increase in theft offences relates to a particular issue of mobile phone theft which GMP has experienced in recent months.
As the popularity of smart phones has increased, so too have the reports of theft that GMP receives. Last year more than 5,000 phones were stolen totalling a value of more than £1.9m.
In response to this trend, GMP launched Operation Network, which aims to reduce the number of these offences. By using a Force level approach the operation pro-actively targets those involved in mobile phone criminality, including the handling and exporting of handsets.
DCC Hopkins continued: “The Operation Network team takes a co-ordinated approach, shares best practice and oversees activity around prevention, intelligence and enforcement.
“Although it may seem like low level criminality, this is certainly not the case. Organised crime groups are becoming increasingly involved in the theft of mobile phones as this funds further criminal activity.
“Offenders are working solo or in gangs and there is intelligence to suggest that stolen phones are being exported abroad, where they are worth a lot more than in the UK.”