Crime in Jersey falls in 2006 says Annual Report

Crime in Jersey is falling and victims of crime are pleased with the level of help they receive from States of Jersey Police according to the States of Jersey Police performance report for 2006.

Surveys received back from victims of crime show that 95 per cent of victims of crime we dealt with in 2006 said they were satisfied with the help given to them by States of Jersey Police officers and 78 per cent of respondents were very satisfied or totally satisfied.

The results for 2006 also show that acquisitive crime “ any offence in which property is stolen “ is down. Burglary was down by 18 per cent “ with 406 burglaries committed in 2006 compared to 495 in 2005. In the 1990s, there were roughly 750 burglaries in the Island each year.

Vehicle crime is also down 17 per cent compared to 2005. During 2006, 189 vehicles were stolen, and property was stolen from cars on 182 occasions. This ˜dip' in figures can be attributed to some prolific offenders being caught in 2005, and shows the success of the Force's proactive investigation team, which was set up to target Jersey's ˜hardcore' of offenders who are responsible for much of the Island's acquisitive crime.

The number of youths aged 14-17 who commit crimes is falling, and more success has been achieved in this area by the work of the Youth Action Team. This is a joint venture between the Police, the Probation Service and the Children's Service. The aim of YAT is to focus on youngsters who are at risk of repeat offending.

Despite these successes, States of Jersey Police continue to urge Islanders not to give criminals easy opportunities to commit crimes such as leaving doors unlocked, or keys in their car.  It remains a fact that crime which is easy to carry out can also be hard to detect. In nearly 80 per cent of domestic burglaries in 2006, there was no forced entry to the property because none was needed, and nearly 50 per cent of the stolen cars which were taken had the keys left in the ignition. Crime would be easier to reduce and some acquisitive crimes would not happen if Islanders were more security conscious.

The Force continues to be busy and has a high detection rate. Last year, the States of Jersey Police control room dealt with 23,864 incidents. Of these, 885 required an emergency response. Last year, officers responded to 93 per cent of incidents within our target response times. The detection rate of crimes for 2006 stands at around 35 per cent, which is around eight per cent higher than the national average in the UK.

There is also evidence that the new ˜five shift' system, which was introduced on 1 January 2006, is paying dividends. The change has not only meant that more officers are on duty at peak times, such as Friday and Saturday nights, but that more Islanders are reporting crimes to officers on the beat. There is also evidence that implementing the five shift system which replaced a four shift system, has reduced levels of sickness among Police officers dramatically. Last year, sickness among Police officers fell by 24 per cent.

Disrupting the supply of illegal drugs into the Island remains an operational priority for States of Jersey Police. Last year, 28 main targets were identified by the Drugs Squad and were arrested and charged. Seven more dealers were also arrested and charged. Fifteen of the 28 'key targets' were local residents. The seizures made by the Drugs Squad in 2006 meant that last year, £1.62 million worth of drugs did not reach the streets of Jersey. Other Police officers were responsible for finding £21,000 worth of illegal drugs.

Another operational priority continues to be safeguarding Jersey's financial integrity. The 2006 report found that the JFCU continue to carry out high quality investigative work and continue to maintain the financial reputation of Jersey by investigating serious offences such as money laundering, drug trafficking and fraud. Last year the Force's joint financial crimes unit received 663 requests for assistance and logged 1,034 suspicious activity reports. The amount of requests from overseas jurisdictions to the JFCU increased by 8.6 per cent.

Reducing street violence in and around St Helier is a concern for many Islanders, and the introduction of the five shift system means that there are more Police officers on the streets at peak times of day. In some cases, this has resulted in more assaults being reported to the Police. This is one of the factors in the rise of assaults reported in St Helier last year. In 2006, the report found that the number of assaults occurring in the pubs, clubs and streets of St Helier between 4 pm and 8 am recorded by Police rose by 8.6 per cent in 2006 compared to 2005.  Analysis suggests that the significant increase in the number of officers patrolling the town at night means more incidents are being identified and recorded.

However, in the same year, the number of assaults at the Waterfront/Weighbridge area fell by 23 per cent from 150 to 113 in 2006 compared to 2005. The amount of assaults in the Minden Place/Bath Street area rose. There were 92 recorded assaults which is a 15 per cent rise compared with 2005 but the majority of additional assaults were reported by Police officers on duty in the area.

Despite this rise, the detection rate for assaults was high, with half of the incidents recorded by the Police in the town's main hotspots resulting in detections in 2006. It is estimated that around 4,000 people go out in St Helier each week.

More than one in five of assaults recorded in Jersey in 2004-2005 was a domestic violence incident. In 2006 243 domestic related incidents were reported “ 30 per cent more than in 2004-2005. This means that last year, a quarter of all reported assaults were domestic related. Last year, only 20 per cent of domestic violence incidents reported to States of Jersey Police resulted in a prosecution. However, ongoing work between the Force's family protection team and the Women's Refuge means that there has been progress in what is known about domestic abuse in Jersey.

Speeding motorists continue to be a concern to Islanders who respond to Police surveys. However, the numbers of people involved in fatal or very serious crashes in Jersey is very low.

Last year, States of Jersey Police invested in LASTEC speeding equipment which allows speeders to be captured on camera by the operator in a short space of time. This means that has greatly increased the number of motorists who can be potentially prosecuted for speeding. Because of this, the number of speeders caught on Jersey's roads rose by 45 per cent in 2006.

 Speaking about the results, Chief Officer Graham Power said: ˜We are pleased with many aspects of the report. It is encouraging to know that things like acquisitive crime are falling, but the challenge we now face is maintaining this drop in crime. The hard work that the men and women of States of Jersey Police carry out round the clock will help, but we have to encourage Islanders to play their part and think seriously about security, and not giving thieves a chance. Some people are not taking the simplest measures, such as locking doors and windows, or taking ignition keys out of cars, and opportunist thieves are benefiting from their behaviour.

˜We are also encouraged by the fact that the five shift system, which has now been in place for just over a year is placing more officers on the beat when people feel they are needed. It has also enabled members of the public to approach officers about things like assaults, and officers are also witnessing and reporting more assaults.

˜However, we feel that there is aggressive and violent behaviour on the streets of St Helier that can only be tackled with the help of everyone who is involved in the night time economy. States of Jersey Police are doing as much as they can, and we welcome working with partners such as the Building a Safer St Helier group. It is up to everyone to work together to find a solution to these late night issues.

˜We believe that this year, the introduction of some new legislation could help us greatly, such as the proposed Crime (Disorderly Conduct and Harrassment( (Jersey) Law. This will enable the Police to take action to better protect victims of intimidation against their partners. This g"s hand in hand with one of our operational priorities this year which is to protect vulnerable victims by targeting dangerous offenders.'

Home Affairs Minister Wendy Kinnard added: ˜The Chief Officer, the senior management team and every member of States of Jersey Police can be congratulated on another excellent set of results which show the trend of reduction in overall crime levels is continuing.'


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