Police chief defends spike in burglaries

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Barry Halliday, Superintendent of Thames Valley Police, has defended the recent spike in burglaries, claiming figures are down on last year.

Speaking at a press briefing this morning, he said Milton Keynes had seen a reduction in burglaries of 11.7 per cent, which had smashed the Force’s target reduction (two per cent) by 9.7 per cent.

Mr Halliday said: “We continue to keep our eyes on reduction and we cannot ignore any opportunities to do so. We saw the reduction happen last year and we had continued success with Operation Darknight.

“This is much better though and proves that the simple stuff works.”

The Force has been carrying out preventative measures to target burglaries before they happen. These include coccooning – the method of warning owners of houses in every direction connected to a house that has already been burgled.

Mr Halliday was also quick to point out the Force’s improved detection rate which was 2.8 per cent up from last year at 18.8 per cent, 0.8 per cent higher than the expected rate.

He said: “We have to accept the occasional spikes but it is still the minority who burgle. We have to watch out for a rise in displacement crime with the drop in burglaries.

“We have seen an increase in shoplifting, which is not a victimless crime but one which is paid for by everyone. During the recent flooding we’ve seen a spike in food and fuel thefts as well.

“However, we do all we can to target these kind of thefts and we are engaging with small businesses because they are the ones who feel this the most.”

Milton Keynes has also seen an increase in its detection rate of violence related crimes from 45 per cent to 47 per cent. However, despite being expected to reduce these crimes by -2 per cent it currently stands at 0.3 per cent.

Mr Halliday said: “For the last five years Milton Keynes has seen a reduction in violence and we continue to see that, we couldn’t do much more. It’s good compared to forces in Cherwell and West Oxfordshire along with nine others which have seen a dramatic increase in violence.

“We are now looking at further improvements and targeting other forms of violence including domestic assault, disputes and anti-social behaviour. If we can reduce those aspects we will see a greater reduction.”

The rise in Asian gold burglaries was also highlighted by the police chief and he called on people wearing it or displaying it to be more cautious of what is around them when they are going to and from events where they might wear it.

However, he said his officers are working on solutions to stop people being targeted.