Nigel Thornton: Peterborough crime figures don’t add up

Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton -
Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton -
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It was very brave of Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner Sir Graham Bright to take the blame for a big rise in crime in the city.

Or at least I think that’s what he did.

Sir Graham was respondingto the seemingly shocking revelation that the number of crimes in Peterborough has risen from 14,404 to 15,541 – a whopping eight per cent in just one year. And this at a time when nationally crime is at a low.

Worryingly, one of the biggest increases in Peterborough has been in violent crime.

But Sir Graham appeared to fall on his sword (not recorded as violent crime) and said: “I have made a commitment to keeping people safe and the constabulary has responded, targeting specific areas of crime.

“This activity, along with a focus on the quality of our crime recording, has led to an increase in reported crime over the last year.

“By listening to victims and responding to people’s concerns we have seen the public become more confident in reporting crime and these figures reflect this.’’

So let me get this right, because the police have been concentrating on violent crime ( which silly old me thought they should have been anyway) and because they are recording it better (so were they doing a pretty poor job before? ) then the crime figures have gone up, but crime hasn’t.

It’s an extraordinary case of double think.

Let’s look at the good news in these figures and, yes, there is plenty of it (if, of course, you believe the numbers).

Domestic burglary is down. A big plus. Drug offences are down. Good. Vehicle crimes are down. Well done.

Yet if we apply Sir Graham’s rather twisted logic are we to assume that the police are no longer prioritising such crimes as domestic burglary or are people just shrugging when some scumbag invades their home and car and not bothering to report it?

Of course this is nonsense.

The police insist there has been no “real’’ increase in crime in the city and I’m prepared to take their word for that, but if crime figures are to have any point they need to be accurate and consistent and not be manipulated by politicians, civil servants or senior police officers.

What a palaver at Peterborough City Hospital where Stagecoach has reduced its peak time services because of rush-hour congestion (isn’t there bound to be congestion at rush-hour?).

Meanwhile up the road at Wansford those nice people at the Highways Agency have “improved’’ the A47 and A1 junction with the implemention of “intelligent’’ traffic lights.

Why don’t they just install some of these “intelligent’’ traffic lights at the hospital?

Problem solved... or perhaps not.

One of the joys of working in a newsroom is access to the bound volumes containing back copies of the newspaper. It’s common for a dusty volume to be left open on a desk and something always catches the eye. So it was I spotted a story from the ET of Monday, January 9, 1989, which proclaimed that “sunseekers could be taking package holidays to the Costa Del Peterborough by the next century’’.

The story revealed scientists predicting the consequences of the “greenhouse effect’’ said there could be a beach at Whittlesey by 2014.

They were a bit wide of the mark although I suspect the ET class of ‘89 were not convinced by the boffins claims as the story only made Page 12... next to one about a cash boost for the city’s Dial-A-Ride service.

Speaking as a Leeds United fan I can only say thank goodness the football season is over – and I’m sure many Posh fans will echo that sentiment.

The weird thing is I can’t wait for the next one to start...

I’ve aimed my fair share of brickbats at Peterborough City Council so here’s a bouquet. Despite the brutal spending cuts, it seems the floral displays at places such as Bishop’s Gardens, Central Park and the museum (above) have escaped the (financial) pruning. Even in the dark days of austerity, it’s great to have them to brighten up our city.

Diary Of A Bad Dad

Toddler T doesn’t do politics. But if she did she’d want a word with Cameron, Clegg, Miliband et al about a new report from Save The Children.

It has ranked countries in terms of the best place to be a mother (and, therefore by natural extension, a child).

When ranking the biggest and wealthiest economies in the world the UK bobbles around between 4th and 6th place, which is not too shabby. However, when it comes to being a mother, the UK is shamefully only the 24th best country in the world.

Save The Children reveals UK women are more than twice as likely to die during pregnancy and childbirth as those in Poland or Belarus.

Our politicians and people in power and authority should hang their heads in shame. But they won’t though will they? They will be too busy feathering their own nest (very maternal!).

I think about now I should insert Toddler T’s latest favourite phrase to me which is “chill out, daddy’’.

So I’ll end with the Sacrewell Farm episode. Toddler T was enjoying her day out but needed the toilet. Mrs T made the mistake of admitting she did too. As they passed a group of people on their way, Toddler T shouted: “Quick mummy or you’ll wet your knickers.’’

She still thinks it’s great being a mum.