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We're determined to get crime down, says police chief

By Richard Guttridge | Crime | Published:

Police chiefs say they are committed to tackling the "root causes of violent crime" following a sharp rise in the most serious offences in the West Midlands.

Deputy Chief Constable Louisa Rolfe

Alarming figures showed there was a 17 per cent rise in knife crime in the year to September 2019, while crime as a whole was up seven per cent. Violence against the person rose by 27 per cent and robberies 13 per cent.

Knife crime is rising faster in the West Midlands than anywhere else in the country, latest figures show.

But West Midlands Police Deputy Chief Constable Louisa Rolfe insisted the force was serious about tackling crime and was taking steps to try and make that happen.

She said the force would continue to target schoolchildren at risk of falling into gangs and crime.

The Government has announced a £1 billion police funding increase, while Boris Johnson has indicated he is taking the issue of rising crime seriously as he said he would chair a committee on crime

DCC Rolfe said: “We are committed to tackling violent offenders and the root causes of violent crime.

“Every day officers are out there targeting offenders, from our neighbourhood-based officers to gangs teams.

“To bolster this work, in May last year we received £7million from the Home Office to help tackle violence and we’ve used it to dedicate extra resources to target suspects but also to steer young people away from crime.

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“We’re also reached out to young people to divert them away from violent crime and gangs. At least three-quarters of the region’s 200-plus secondary schools have held knife crime talks with their pupils, reaching over 150,000 young people, and each year the Precious Lives project reaches 35,000 youngsters.

“Our Organised Crime Units have also had great success in targeting people linked to gang activity. Every day we have plain-clothes patrols in key areas on the lookout for suspects. We’ve recovered a significant number of firearms.

“The crime statistics also show an eight per cent fall in burglary in the West Midlands compared to four per cent nationally. This is in part thanks to our programme to rehabilitate some of the region’s most prolific burglars."

Meanwhile, the Chief Constable of Staffordshire Police, Gareth Morgan, has spoken of his pride at the force being only one of four to see a reduction in crime.

He said: "Always great to welcome a reduction in crime. The result of hard work and support of colleagues, local partners and, vitally, the public. As ever there’s more to do but proud to see these reports."

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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