No answer for Peterborough’s high crime figures, councillors told

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A meeting to discuss crime figures in Peterborough left city councillors unclear as to why the number of offences has risen dramatically.

Community safety officers told councillors they had regularly tried to get to the bottom of why Peterborough fared worst than its ‘statistical neighbours’ when it came to crime figures, but that they had not found the answers.

Their comments followed the release of figures showing violent crime in the city had risen by nearly 31 per cent over the past year, with domestic abuse rising by 35 per cent. Cambridgeshire police has said the rise was partly due to the way crime was recorded.

Former chief inspector Rob Hill, who is now the city council’s assistant director for communities and safety, said the rising figures would help the authorities understand the situation better in the city.

He told the council’s Adults and Communities Scrutiny Committee: “I want to understand the picture before finding the solution.”

He later added: “We know we have a transient and diverse population in Peterborough. That’s where we are doing work at the moment, trying to understand how different groups deal with domestic abuse.”

Hayley Thornhill, senior policy manager at the council, said Peterborough, in comparison with 14 other councils with similar demographics, had had the worst crime figures for a long period of time.

She said: “We have tried to get the nub of this issue many, many times. I do not think we are ever going to have the answer here.”

Committee chair Cllr Howard Fuller said: “The headline numbers are clear and disturbing to say the least. We are still seemingly nowhere nearer to understanding what’s going on.

“It does not really give confidence that we are getting to grips with this and doing the things we need to improve.”

Cllr Ansar Ali said: “I’m very concerned that consistently we’ve been at the bottom. Many other cities faces similar challenges to what we have had over the period.”

The committee was told about the success of the Integrated Offender Management scheme, which helps some of the most persistent and problematic offenders, and that a new domestic abuse outreach worker is being recruited.

Adrian Chapman, council service director for communities and safety, added: “We have to acknowledge that we are in a city that in the public sector is not funded appropriately by government.

“We have one of the poorest funded forces in the county.”