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Halton hits a low in crime report

HALTON has the worst rates of violent crime and car theft in Cheshire, a report by the chief constable has revealed.

HALTON has the worst rates of violent crime and car theft in Cheshire, a report by the chief constable has revealed.

And just 15 in every 100 burglaries are solved with a clear-up rate of just 10.5% when it comes to tracking down car thieves.

The clear-up rate for burglary and car theft are both better than the national average.

The figures are contained in Chief Constable Nigel Burgess's periodic report to Cheshire Police Authority.

In his introduction to the force, Mr Burgess says police officers and civilian staff are to be congratulated for providing a good value force.

He also says the force is performing well in responding to 999 calls with 94.2% answered within 15 seconds against a target of 90%. This is despite the number of emergency calls rising by almost a quarter due to a massive increase in mobile phone ownership.

But overall recorded crime is 15% above target for the period April-June this year.

Mr Burgess says divisions, including Halton, cite rises in criminal damage, burglary and vehicle crime as being reponsible for the increase.

The rise in crime has come as a shock. The constabulary's annual report for 2000/01 revealed that crime has fallen in the county for the last seven years.

Criminal damage made up 40% of the increase in crime with the worst hot spots being Halton and Warrington.

The borough's nuisance youths were also cited for a 5% rise in public disorder offences and a 4% increase in violent crime. Countywide domestic burglaries were up 8%.

Cautions and charges for possession of drugs were down a massive 69% with the vast majority of offences in Halton involving heroin.

However, Cheshire's crime rates are still well below the national average.

In the annual report, the chief constable announced plans to increase front line policing to meet community concerns and fear of crime.

Government funding has been granted for the next two years so that more officers can be recruited.

Mr Burgess said: 'There is a limit, though, to the number of officers that can be afforded even with extra Government money. My role is to get the balance right by devoting resources to the full range of policing.

'As well as visible patrol and community liaison, we must have an effective response to the many thousands of emergency calls. We must also devote resources to detecting crime through the development of intelligence, the use of surveillance and other activities.

'Our rates are still considerably lower than the national average, but there is a need for efforts to be redoubled and for new initiatives.'


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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