First rise in NI crime in four years

First rise in NI crime in four years

A slight increase has been recorded in crimes committed across Northern Ireland in the PSNI's annual statistics for 2013/14.

The first increase in four years saw 102,746 crimes recorded in the region over this period.The figure remains the second lowest annual level recorded since the new Home Office counting rules were introduced in 1998.The PSNI saw a decrease in robbery and criminal damage however violence against the person, theft and public order offences increased.The overall crime outcome rate - where police put forward charges or other took other measures - fell by 2.3% on the previous year to 27.2% - there were decreases in the outcome rate across all 10 main offence groups.These decreases ranged from a drop of 0.4% in sexual offences to a 9.5% drop in successful outcomes for public order offences.Street-level drug dealing remained a priority for officers, and drug seizures increased by 7.8%, with cannabis continuing to be the main substance recovered.Hate crimes were a particular problem as there was a 30% increase in racist incidents and an almost 14% increase in homophobic incidents.There were increases in all but one of the six hate crime categories.There were a total of 1,284 sectarian incidents, 982 racist incidents, 280 homophobic incidents, 107 disability-related incidents, 24-faith/religion incidents and 23 transphobic incidents.A PSNI spokesperson commented: "We have been working extremely hard along with our partners to encourage victims of any hate crime to report their experiences to police however we acknowledge we have more to do to build confidence within communities that we are tackling hate crimes vigorously. "There was also an increase in domestic abuse incidents, from 11,160 to 12,720.While we have seen a slight increase in recorded crime for 2013/14 it is worth noting that this follows four years of decreasing crime levels. Despite the fact that this has been a challenging time for police I am extremely proud of the continuing commitment shown by officers and staff to make Northern Ireland safer for everyone.PSNI Chief Constable Matt BaggottThere was only one security-related death recorded - Kevin Kearney in north Belfast on 9 October 2013.This was one less than the previous year, when prison officer David Black and Danny McKay in Newtownabbey were killed in separate incidents.Bombing incidents increased by 25 to 69 incidents while the number of shootings decreased by 10 to 54 incidents.There were 28 casualties resulting from paramilitary-style shootings, an increase of one.Republicans were deemed responsible for 19 of these, while loyalists were blamed for the remaining nine.Loyalists were blamed for 37 paramilitary-style attacks, while republicans were blamed for five of the total 42 incidents.A total of 168 people were arrested under the Terrorism Act, which was an increase of 11 but there was a decrease in the number of people charged from 50 to 32.Speaking about the figures, Chair of the Policing Board's Performance Committee Jonathan Craig MLA said: "Disappointingly, the overall crime outcome rate has fallen and whilst we are aware of the particular operational pressures that PSNI had to deal with during the last year, Board Members will be concerned about this drop, its impact on those who have been the victim of crime and the wider community."Mr Craig added that body-worn video cameras could provide evidence to assist in the prosecution of abusers.The DUP representative said that that the influence of Policing and Community Safety Partnerships in the prevention of crime were beginning to make an impact on offences such as anti-social behaviour and drugs.Mr Craig said the police "need support from across the community" in stopping further hate attacks.He added: "Recent initiatives announced by the PSNI in response to racist hate crime are fully supported by the Board and we appeal to the public to work with the police on this."While SDLP Policing Board member Dolores Kelly said the increase in crime over the last year illustrates the urgency needed to bring an end to continuing disputes on parades that she says are draining the PSNI of resources."Everyone is aware of the pressure on PSNI resources with officers from every district in the North policing disputes, such as Twaddell Avenue on a nightly basis," the Upper Bann MLA said."While officers are out of their districts their impact on preventing crime and tackling crime in those communities is diminished and the PSNI's figures are evidence of that. CHAR(13) + CHAR(10)CHAR(13) + CHAR(10)"The PSNI are trying to police a divided society and deal with that every day, picking up the pieces, whilst politics and wider civic society have a clear duty to tackle the causes."


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