'Hidden crime' on the rise across the West Midlands

The region saw a 10 per cent rise in reported “hidden crime” such as domestic abuse last year, according to police and crime commissioner figures.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson

West Midlands PCC David Jamieson presented his annual report to the West Midlands Police and Crime Panel at a meeting last week (Sept 25).

The report showed a marked increase in crimes designated “hidden” such as domestic abuse, child abuse, hate crime, female genital mutilation, modern slavery and human trafficking.

A total of 104,687 incidents were recorded in 2019/20 – an increase of more than 10 per cent from the previous year.

The report states 40 per cent of instances of hidden crime are domestic abuse incidents.

The report also states rate of total recorded crime, with 89 crimes recorded per 1,000 people – the same as the previous year and in line with the average for England and Wales.

The report showed decreases in burglaries, robberies, re-offending for adults and young people entering the criminal justice system.

But it was highlighted in the meeting that the rate of entry into the criminal justice system per 100,000 young people (ten to 17) as higher at 282 in the region compared to 222 across England and Wales.

The number of allegations made against police per 1,000 employees fell from 190 in 2016/17 to 41 in 2019/20.

People killed or seriously injured on roads in the West Midlands fell from 1,016 in 2018 to 980 in 2019.

A statement from PCC David Jamieson on the hidden crimes figures stated: “It is positive to continue to see these crimes seeing an increase in reporting.

“As more work is done in this area, helping victims access support and giving the public the right information to be able to identify some other ‘hidden crimes’ will continue to help bring these crimes out of the dark and into the open where they can be tackled as the heinous crimes they are.”

Confidence in West Midlands Police fell from 76 per cent in 2016/17 to 65 per cent in 2018/19 – lower than the average across England and Wales at 74 per cent.

During the meeting, board member Councillor Suky Samra, Walsall councillor for the Streetly ward, asked given the fall in confidence in the police whether PCC Jamieson’s tenure has been “a failure”.

PCC Jamieson said the fall in confidence had partly been about “visibility” of officers, and mentioned the cuts to police budgets since 2010.

He said: “The cuts are not my failure, it’s the failure of others.

“The people responding [to the Office for National Statistics] are mainly people who saw over that period of time a considerable rise in vehicle crime.”

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