Date: 14 April 2011
Crime is down for another year which is an exceptional story and one which we should celebrate. Total crime reported in Bath and North east Somerset fell by 1.9% last year which means there were 203 less victims of crime in our area. This is really good news especially when you add it to what is now about a decade of falling crime in B&NES, yes B&NES, not everywhere.
I am always conscious when quoting numbers about the old phrase ‘if you torture statistics long enough they’ll say anything’ and so I tend to focus on house burglaries as a check of the accuracy of the trend. I do this on the basis that we know almost everyone tells us when their house is broken into but not necessarily if they are a victim of other types of crime. I am, therefore, delighted to be able to tell you that the number of houses broken into across B&NES fell from 498 last year to 410 this year, a reduction of 17.5%. If you look back in time in 2002 1,600 houses were broken into in our area in that year. The fact that 410 were this year is a remarkable success story especially when you consider that in our relatively small area, as a result of much of the work we do in partnership and focusing on prolific offenders, there has been over 1,100 fewer victims of domestic burglary than there were nine years ago. I am also pleased to tell you that we achieved the highest overall detection rate in the Force at 37.4%. This is the second highest detection rate of all of our most similar group of areas nationally.
Statistics are one thing but bravery and heroism is another. A truly remarkable act of courage by one of my Officers saved a man in a burning car recently. PC Adam Gale and PC Chris Minty were called to a car on fire. On their arrival they saw a man slumped in the car with smoke emerging from underneath. PC Gale approached the car in order to free the man but couldn’t gain entry, despite repeated attempts to smash the car window with his asp he could not break it. By now flames were flickering from under the car and it was catching alight. He eventually smashed the window but couldn’t get access. The car was at serious risk of exploding and so PC Minty called his colleague back. As he retreated he realised the man had now stirred and opened the door. PC Gale returned to the car and helped the man escape and just after they dragged him away the car exploded.
It was with great sadness that James Bubear ‘s body was recovered from the river. I am sure you will join with me in sending our sincere condolences to the family at what must be a very difficult time. I have been in contact with the Council to see if we can commence a joint piece of work to look at safety along the river bank. Colleagues in the Fire and Rescue Service have also been discussing this. I do believe that we should look at the issue to see if anything to prevent such a tragedy as this can be done. It is quite complex with a range of different landowners, some who are known, some who are not. Also the provision of life saving equipment and the ability to prevent if from being vandalised should be included in the discussion.
Two celebratory events took place this week. The first was an opportunity I create each year and that is to thank the top ten highest performers of my staff and also the top ten people identified by their manager as having the most enthusiasm, commitment and contributed the most to team working. It is always a privilege and once again it was this year.
The second event is the Annual Parade of the Special Constabulary which took place yesterday evening in the Guildhall. If anyone thought volunteering has just been invented well these people have been doing it week in and week out; some for over 15 years. The level of commitment shown is remarkable. It is one thing to put your self in danger as part of your job, it is another as a volunteer. The evening is a real opportunity to thank them all for the tremendous work they do on behalf of everyone.