Peterborough is a ‘safe place to live’ says police chief

Jason Ablewhite
Jason Ablewhite

Police chiefs have said Cambridgeshire remains a safe place to live - despite a rise in robberies and stalking offences in the county.

Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner Jason Ablewhite said the force was doing all they could to address concerns, after a one per cent rise in recorded crime was revealed,

While there was only a small rise in overall crime, there was a big jump in stalking and harassment cases, up 20 per cent to 2,768. In Cambridgeshire there were 753 robberies, up 22 per cent from the previous year, However, it was not all bad news, as the county’s police force recorded an eight per cent drop in reports of burglary, falling to 5,678.

Mr Ablewhite said: “I want to take this opportunity to reassure people that a great deal of work has been put in by the Constabulary since then to address these concerns. Burglary remains a force priority and one the Constabulary is working hard to tackle, however it is important to stress the increase seen last summer is below the national average. Efforts such as Operation Hawkesbury in November saw the conviction of 10 offenders who had committed more than 200 burglaries across our villages.

“As a reporting category, stalking and harassment is relatively new, therefore I am pleased to see people coming forward to report this serious crime and announced an enhanced offer of dedicated support in partnership with national stalking charity the Suzy Lamplugh Trust last year to ensure victims receive appropriate support.”

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire police said: “The increase in stalking and harassment offences is being largely driven by recording improvements and a change to the Home Office counting rules in April 2018. The latter is expected to lead to further increases until the rule changes have bedded in, reflecting the national position.

“We saw a higher number of robbery offences over the summer months (July and August) which has driven this increase. However, the rate per 1000 population remains below the national average.

“We have seen a notable reduction in burglary. Our singular force approach is Operation Aware – launched in April 2018 which ensures there is a designated residential burglary desk within the Intelligence and Specialist Crime Department.

“There are weekly force meetings focusing exclusively on burglary, covering forthcoming prison releases of priority burglary offenders, emerging trends, intelligence and proactive opportunities, current investigations and series together with any significant forensic intelligence.

“These are further supported by weekly tactical meetings in each area to prioritise activity for the week ahead. Integrated Offender management remains a key feature of these meetings. This is underpinned by monthly strategic meetings to ensure the force response together with partners remains coordinated.”

North West Cambridgeshire MP Shailesh Vara said: “While this is a small overall rise, any increase in local crime is a real concern.

“It is good to see a significant fall in burglaries but the accompanying rise in both robbery and harassment is worrying for local people.

“I am meeting with Nick Dean, Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire Constabulary and Jason Ablewhite, Police and Crime Commissioner this week and will be discussing their plans for effective action to ensure local people feel safe in their homes and communities.”

The Peterborough Telegraph contacted Peterborough MP Fiona Onasanya about this issue before she was sentenced on Tuesday. She did not respond to questions.