Melton residents suffer 22 per cent increase in crime in the last year

Insp Gavin Drummond EMN-170726-110111001
Insp Gavin Drummond EMN-170726-110111001

28%

New figures released by the Office for National Statistics reveal a 10 per cent spike in crimes across the UK.

Councillor Malise Graham, chairman of the Safer Melton Partnership EMN-170726-110226001

Councillor Malise Graham, chairman of the Safer Melton Partnership EMN-170726-110226001

But, the 2,354 offences reported in the Melton area in the 12 months up to March represent an increase of 22 per cent on the same period the previous year.

The percentage increase is the highest in Leicestershire, with only Harborough reporting more criminal activity.

Violent offences causing injury have gone up a whopping 73 per cent while there were also big rises of 48 and 35 per cent, respectively, in reports of violence against the person and violence without injury.

In addition, vehicle crimes rose 31 per cent and there were 21 per cent spikes in both shoplifting and criminal damage/arson.

The new figures don’t take into account the recent upsurge in crime in Melton, which saw a series of arson attacks on cars and property on the Fairmead Estate, a host of break-ins in town centre businesses and several reports of tradespeople having tools and other equipment stolen from their vehicles.

Melton police say there are occasional increases in crime committed by a small number of repeat offenders and that the figures represent a relatively small number of crimes compared to other areas of the county.

Insp Gavin Drummond, the neighbourhood policing commander for Melton, said: “I can’t put these new pockets of crime down to anything specific.

“Some of it will be drug-related, in terms of them committing crimes to fund their habits.

“We’ve had a rise in the number of burglaries in the town recently and we’ve reacted swiftly to that by making a number of arrests.

“These crimes are committed by a small number of individuals and we are working hard to identify them.”

Insp Drummond said patrols had been stepped up on the Fairmead Estate in the wake of the arson incidents and officers were talking to the residents’ group to address their fears.

He advised businesses to ensure their CCTV was working properly and has asked them not to leave cash on the premises overnight.

Chief Constable Simon Cole revealed this week that Leicestershire Police received 10,000 more calls between April and June, compared to the same period in 2016.

This comes at a time when the number of officers in the county force has been cut by 23 per cent between 2009 and 2016 due to forced budget savings.

Insp Drummond added: “There is a perception in Melton that there are no police on duty at night.

“I can assure the public that Melton police station is fully functioning and we have dedicated officers working seven days a week, 24/7.”

The work of the police was praised by the chairman of the Melton Safer Communities Partnership, Councillor 
Malise Graham, whose members meet regularly with officers to talk about crime initiatives.

He believes stronger sentences should be handed to the town’s repeat offenders.

“The police are catching the criminals but the criminal justice system is then releasing then back into society,” said Councillor Graham.

“By and large Melton has the police resources it needs, we have good officers and good intelligence.

“They are good at bringing perpetrators before the courts but they are not then getting the sentences we would like to see.”

Councillor Graham said those council tenants convicted of offences should no longer be allowed to stay in their property.

“People are breaking their tenancy agreement if they commit a crime and we are looking at ways to re-enforce this policy as a council,” he added.

Melton Council’s leader praised the recent arrests made in the wake of the recent spate of burglaries in 
the town and he said the council was working with police and other agencies on a long term solution to the crime issue.

Councillor Joe Orson said: “The problem is that percentages can sometimes give the wrong impression.

“The number of crimes committed in Melton is comparatively low and we should be grateful for that.

“It’s the case that if we can get a small number of perpetrators off the streets that can make a big difference to crime levels in the town.”