New police commissioner promises to tackle knife and gun crime following rise in violent offences in Peterborough

The new police and crime commissioner has promised to tackle knife and gun crime following a rise in violent offending in Peterborough.

Thursday, 20th May 2021, 4:00 am

Last week The Peterborough Telegraph revealed the number of violent offences recorded in Peterborough increased by 11 per cent last year.

There was also an 11 per cent rise in sexual offences, while the number of domestic burglaries remained almost static - despite a drop across the rest of the county.

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Overall, there was a seven per cent drop in recorded crime in Peterborough in 2020.

Speaking to the Peterborough Telegraph, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Police and Crime Commissioner Darryl Preston - who was elected earlier this month - said he would be ‘leading on a serious violence reduction strategy to tackle knife and gun crime’ in the city.

He said: “The last 12 months have been unprecedented for policing –the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent national lockdown restrictions have significantly impacted demand with officers having to adapt to enforcing regularly changing legislation whilst still responding to the usual calls for service.

“Although there was an increase in recorded domestic abuse in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, levels of domestic abuse were steadily increasing before the pandemic. The increase is in part due to the Constabulary improving recording practices and a willingness of victims to come forward.

“It is vital that victims continue to be supported. I was pleased to see the Countywide Domestic Abuse Support Service adapting its method of support delivery throughout the lockdowns to ensure that anyone needing support was able to access it.

“I will be leading on a serious violence reduction strategy to tackle knife and gun crime.

“Cambridgeshire continues to be a safe place to live but I will be listening to people in our communities to understand their concerns about crime, and supporting the police to act on those concerns.”

“I have made clear, cutting crime is my main priority and this is something I have already spoken to the Chief Constable about last week.”

A Cambridgeshire Constabulary spokesperson said tackling violent crime was one of the force’s top priorities.

The spokesperson said: “Last year was a challenging time for everyone and there was no exception to policing as officers dealt with new legislation and adapted to changes in crime trends as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“As a whole we saw a decrease in crime in Peterborough barring some offences including violent crime which rose in summer months as some of the restrictions temporarily eased.

“Tackling violent crime is one of our top priorities and we use a number of tactics to tackle and reduce this issue including executing warrants, holding dedicated operations and taking part in national initiatives such as knife and firearm surrender schemes.

“While we take the rise in these offences exceptionally seriously, we are also encouraged to see that members of the community have the confidence to report incidents to us and we would encourage them to continue doing so.

“In relation to burglary, this is another priority for the force and we recognise the huge impact it has on victims.

“We have dedicated teams focussed on bearing down on acquisitive crime across the county and we are working hard to bring offenders to justice.

“A recent example includes a four year sentence being handed to Peter Round last week for a burglary in Eastfield Road last year.

“We take all reports of crime seriously and continue to work around the clock to keep Peterborough as safe as possible for residents by protecting victims and bringing criminals before the courts. We encourage residents to continue to report any concerns to us.

“To be kept up to date on local policing activity in Peterborough, please follow us on Facebook and Twitter.”

Peterborough MP Paul Bristow said the figures were encouraging, saying serious violent crime had reduced in the city.

He said: “Overall, the crime figures for the Peterborough City Council area show welcome improvements.

“Although it’s disappointing to see an increase in violent crime, the figures for violence with injury are down by 12 per cent.

“Serious violent crime in Peterborough has fallen.

“Burglary decreased by 10 per cent, robbery was down by a quarter and theft from the person more than halved. We need the police to focus on domestic burglaries, which only dropped slightly, but that shouldn’t detract from the positive news in our city.”

North West Cambridgeshire MP Shailesh Vara said the increase in violence was ‘worrying’. He said; “I am pleased with the overall reduction in recorded crime, but it is worrying that there has been an increase in violent crime. Given that we were in lockdown for part of the year, we need to consider what types of violent crime were committed, and see how they can be best dealt with as we move forward.

“Many people were at home during the lockdowns so I would have expected the burglary rate to be much lower, instead of it just being a small drop.

“Generally though, while the reduction in recorded crime is welcome, it is clear that more needs to be done in terms of crime prevention and I will be taking this up with the local police.”