Holidaymakers 'felt' as violent crime rises in Waveney

Lowestoft Police Station. Picture: Conor Matchett

Offences in Waveney rose by 17pc between July 2020 and June 2021 from the 12 months prior - Credit: Archant

An influx of holidaymakers "has been felt," as figures reveal a rise in violent crimes in Waveney.

Crimes in the district accounted for more than a fifth of offences in Suffolk between July 2020 and June 2021, latest figures show, with a sharp rise in violent or sexual crimes.

The figures, released by the Office for National Statistics, show a drop of 11pc in crimes across the county, but the local picture in Waveney shows a 17pc rise compared to the 12 months prior.

There was, however, a fall in almost all types of theft offences.

Supt Matt Carney, area commander for the east, said: “It is not unusual to see fluctuations in recorded crime data in more localised areas.

“The Waveney district has a large and fluid population during holiday season which attracts more people and whilst many areas have been quieter, the impact of the influx of tourists over the summer has been felt.

“The increase in violence and sexual offences is in part closely linked to the national rise in domestic abuse reports where the victim and perpetrator are frequently known to each other – all reports of a domestic or sexual nature are given a priority response.

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"It’s important to say there has been significant investment in investigators and support services across the county.

“It is also important to say that, comparatively, the numbers are relatively low and that many other crime time types such as burglary have reduced. We continue to closely monitor the current performance and respond appropriately.

“We also continue to work with partners to support victims of crime and pursue offenders and our priorities are to keep people safe, and to catch and convict criminals. Our officers and staff do their utmost to achieve that.”

A total of 4,242 violent or sexual offences were recorded between July 2020 and June 2021, a rise of 17.1pc on the 3,622 of the 12 months before. 

There were, however, a 50pc fall in thefts from a person, a 24.5pc fall in shoplifting to 268 offences, a 20pc fall in burglary to 264, a 15.9pc fall in robbery to 37, and a 3.4pc fall in bicycle thefts to 144.

Only theft offences categorised as 'other thefts' rose - up to 788 from 649.

The figures also show a 41.9pc increase in vehicle crime, 34.3pc increase in anti-social behaviour, a 27.4pc increase in public order offences, and a 19.1pc increase in criminal damage and arson.

Drug offences remained consistent, going up by two to 238, while possession of weapons fell by 12.8pc.

Assistant chief constable Rachel Kearton Picture: GREGG BROWN

Assistant chief constable Rachel Kearton Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

County picture

Overall crime fell by 11pc to 49,180 offences across Suffolk in the year ending June 2021, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Police conceded that a fall in overall crime was heavily influenced by the pandemic – but hoped the reduction would still provide reassurance to the public.

Deputy Chief Constable Rachel Kearton said she was pleased by the comparative performance of the constabulary, which ranked in the top 10 for declines in burglary and robbery, against the "incredibly testing environment" of a pandemic.

She said: "The real encouragement is that our comparison with other forces is very good, bearing in mind everybody has been affected by the influences of Covid.

"Obviously, people spent more time in their homes, but our officers were able to carry out more preventative work, and we've had investment in proactive teams, so it provided an opportunity for us to become even more integrated into communities.  

"There's an understandable fear of crime, which can be influenced by national and international stories, but I think these statistics recognise that Suffolk is a very safe place to live and work."