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Community safety overview
Lancashire is one of the safest areas in the country with crime and other community safety issues, such as anti-social behaviour and road accidents at their lowest level for years. Around nine out of ten respondents (87%) to a recent Living in Lancashire survey consider their local area to be safe.
Latest full year figures from the Home Office for 2014/15 on police recorded crime show that there were 92,646 crimes (excluding fraud). This represents a 3% decrease (2,726 fewer crimes) in Lancashire compared with 2013/14, in contrast to England and Wales where there was an increase of 2%.
Violence against the person saw a rise of 5% in Lancashire, mainly due to the increased recording of violence without injury. Sexual offences also showed an increase (6.6%) for the third year running, but this is attributed to increased confidence in reporting and significant media coverage rather than an increase in these types of offences. 75% were victim based crimes.
This masks significant geographical diversity. From Ribble Valley, which is continually highlighted as a top 10 place to live in England and Wales, to the more deprived areas in Blackburn with Darwen, Blackpool, Burnley, Lancaster and Preston where community safety problems are still a significant issue. The highest rates (all above the national average), are found in the four largest urban districts, with Blackpool at 108 offences per 1,000 population heading the table, followed by Burnley, 97 offences per 1,000 population, Preston with 78 offences per 1,000 population and Blackburn with Darwen, 72 offences per 1,000 population. Although some of these locations have seen significant regeneration over the last ten years, underlying issues in terms of health, education and unemployment still exist and have an impact on community safety.
97% of crimes in Lancashire were given a recorded outcome in 2014/15: 18% were charged or summonsed, 5% had a community resolution, 56% of cases the investigation was completed and a suspect was not identified.
Further analysis is contained in the Crime in Lancashire article which can be downloaded using the link below.
A full assessment of strategic priorities has been undertaken by the Partnership Analysts. The top crime and anti-social behaviour categories impacting across the county are:
- Violence against the person (predominantly wounding (also known as GBH), assault with less serious injury (ABH), sexual assaults, rape and robbery – all of which account for significant harm to the victim and within the local community).
- Domestic abuse is an issue for all areas of Lancashire. Despite a decreasing trend of Domestic Abuse incidents, the last 12 months have experienced a significant increase in repeat high risk cases.
- Child sexual exploitation (CSE). The risk of CSE varies across the county. It is clear from the available data and improving intelligence picture, that social care, education and public health have a key role to play in understanding and tackling CSE. In particular, data from across these key areas can be used to identify potential cases early. Factor analysis was inconclusive and suggests that there are no significant variables that stand out in CSE referral cases, thus, demonstrating the complexities with CSE cases. However, problematic parenting and family structure were noted as significant issues in many CSE referral case notes.
- Anti-social behaviour (ASB) continues to be an issue for pan-Lancashire (noise nuisance, problems between neighbours and repeat incidents). Whilst the overall volume has been decreasing (as reported to the police), ASB shows seasonal trends that rise through the summer. Additionally, the volume of more problematic ASB requiring an ASBRAC (anti-social behaviour risk assessment conference) cases remains high.
- Road safety: the last two years have experienced an increase in KSI casualties. The trend in KSI casualties is mirrored by the casualty records for pedal cyclists, 65+ year olds and to a lesser extent by 0-15 year old KSI casualties. The criminal use of road networks and ASB on roads also presents road safety issues, targeting of which can have a positive impact on collisions.
However, by utilising an alternative approach to analysis through the Cambridge Harm Index , the key categories causing the most harm in the community are rape, wounding, sexual offences, assault with less serious injury and robbery.
The main contributory factors in the commission of crime and for increased risk of victimisation are:
- Alcohol harm (particularly in respect of serious violent crime). Alcohol increases the risk of injury in violent crime and alcohol-related violent crime is statistically significant near licensed premises. Alcohol harm has been noted as an issue in families on the Working Together with Families (WTwF) programme, in cases of domestic abuse and for increasing risk of reoffending.
- The harmful effects of drug use / misuse. Whilst chaotic opiate use is in decline, there is an increase in cannabis use among young people. Intelligence suggests that there is a significant link between illicit tobacco markets and cannabis cultivation and supply within the county. These two areas are also linked to wider serious and organised criminality issues within the county.
There is a significant threat from new psychoactive substances (NPS). NPS pose a threat due to the lack of intelligence as to how widespread its use is and the impact on health services due to varying chemical composition of NPS, particularly when an individual has suffered adverse effects or an overdose.
- Reoffending remains an issue (significant pathways that promote reoffending include alcohol, drugs and housing). Those most at risk of reoffending are those that are on community orders (particularly within 3 months of being given the order), those who have been on cohort caseloads for less than 3 months and those who have been on short sentences. Interestingly, analysis of the Working Together with Troubled Families data showed that households with adults with a proven offence were more likely to have a child with an offence.
- Deprivation and social inequality. Analysis of families on the Working Together with Families programme noted that the more deprived wards contained a higher rate of families. This is to be expected based on the initial methods used to determine the number of families that each area had to work with. However, evaluation of local families found that needs were more complex than the national criteria used to govern which families should be worked with. Parenting difficulties (also a key factor in CSE referrals) were identified in 61% of families. Furthermore, parenting problems were associated with social care issues, education and depression.
- Mental health: There is a danger of simply listing MH as a risk factor without sound research, as MH issues are broad and complex. However, research has evidenced that those with MH issues are more vulnerable to being a victim of crime or ASB and those who are repeatedly victimised are vulnerable to developing MH issues. In addition, a sample of data from WTwF showed that a quarter of children from families on the WTwF programme were believed to have MH issues. MH issues were noted in families with parenting difficulties, which increased the risk of a child with an ASB intervention.
Further details are contained in the Lancashire Strategic Assessment 2015.
Crime in Lancashire 2014/15 (691 KB, Acrobat PDF)
Lancashire Prisons Health Needs Assessment - January 2012 (739 KB, Acrobat PDF)
Living in Lancashire W48 - Community Safety (507 KB, Acrobat PDF)
Strategic Assessment (2015) (1.02 MB, Acrobat PDF)
Stop and search
There have been a total of 6,463 Stop and Searches recorded in Lancashire for the period 01/12/14- 31/12/15. For more details please go to Best use of Stop and Search - Jan 16' For more information about Stop and Search powers, please refer to Lancashire's advice page - http://www.lancashire.police.uk/help-advice/stop-and-search.aspx.
The latest crime and anti-social behaviour statistics can be viewed on the Safer Lancashire website:
More detailed statistics and analyses are available in the restricted MADE members area.