Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Hogg is concerned that Devon and Cornwall is losing the status as one of the safest areas in England and Wales. It follows a statement by Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer that the force is very unlikely to hit a year-end target of reducing crime by 2%, a figure agreed with the Commissioner earlier this year. Although the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show that overall crime in Devon and Cornwall has fallen by 6% to the year to June 2013, more recent local force data suggests that overall crime levels have risen between July - September, compared to the same period in 2012. Crime is falling in some areas, such as robbery, burglary and criminal damage, but crime in other categories, including public order offences, low level violence and shoplifting, has risen. There's also been an increase in the reporting of all sexual offences and domestic abuse, which may reflect increasing public confidence to do so. Mr Hogg is seeking reassurances from the Chief Constable about what the force will be doing to address these significant areas of concern. The Commissioner has questioned Mr Sawyer in a series of performance meetings ahead of the publication of the ONS figures. They confirm that Devon and Cornwall has dropped down a league table of the safest forces. In June 2012, Devon and Cornwall was placed 8th, but is now down at 12th. Previously it had peaked at 4th. In part this is due to other forces reducing crime at a faster rate, and Mr Hogg says he's concerned about recent trends and the possibility that we will fall further in the coming months. Tony Hogg says: As the publicâs representative it's my duty to highlight areas where performance can be improved. I am pleased that more serious crime figures are reducing, but it's important to also address the other issues which matter to people every day. I have protected officer numbers in Devon and Cornwall, and I will continue to hold the Chief Constable to account for the efficient and effective delivery of my Police and Crime Plan. He is well aware of my concerns. Dr Karen Vincent, OPCC Performance Manager says: Analysis of crime trends in Devon & Cornwall suggests a complex interaction of issues including the large influx of summer visitors this year, reductions in the numbers of officers, an impact of financial hardship to individuals especially in already deprived areas, and increased confidence in the public to come forward to report some of the more sensitive offence types including sexual and domestic abuse. The challenge going forwards is to identify the most effective ways to address these issues in collaboration with our partners. One of the roles of the Police and Crime Commissioner is holding the Chief Constable to account over the performance of the Force. You can see their filmed performance interview, concentrating on crime figures, belowhttp://youtu.be/UAxaYjNCGQY
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