Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Angelique Foster has praised the innovative work of the force and partners in delivering a first-class service to victims of burglary.
Prior to a national announcement by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC), Derbyshire Constabulary had already committed to plans which would see every home burglary in the county visited by officers in support of the Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan pledge to clampdown on Neighbourhood Crime.
Commissioner Angelique Foster said: “Burglary is an intrusive crime which can leave an emotional impact on its victims. Too often, I was told about burglaries which had been reported but had not received the strength of response expected by the victim. I have been clear in my expectations that all victims of crime, regardless of the type of crime and regardless of where they live in the county, should receive the highest standard of service from our police force. I have made tackling burglary a key priority in my Police and Crime Plan, which also makes clear my expectation that the force should attend every home burglary, and we should strive to significantly reduce burglaries.
“Derbyshire Constabulary has been quick off the mark, making a commitment to deliver on this requirement at the time I published my Police and Crime Plan last year. It is good to see that the NPCC has now made this a national requirement and recognised that victims of home burglaries can be seriously impacted. I am proud our County is ahead of the curve in meeting the needs of victims and that here in Derbyshire, our police force has already put systems in place to be able to support the residents they serve.”
The force, supported by the Commissioner, is also pushing the boundaries of innovation to bring more offenders to justice and to prevent reoffending. This includes participation in the highly successful Acquisitive Crime Electronic Monitoring Pilot which requires offenders to wear a GPS tag on release from prison.
The programme launched in Derbyshire in September 2021 and initially involved a small number of prolific burglars and robbers. Now with an extended criteria for those eligible, the scheme includes those offenders who have received shorter custodial sentences, ensuring a greater number can be monitored.
In the first six months of the pilot, almost 6,000 acquisitive crimes in the county were automatically compared to the GPS location of tagged offenders – producing almost 200 proximity alerts. Only three have resulted in a prosecution, demonstrating that the tagged offenders were not at the scene of these reported acquisitive crimes – and importantly that the tagging itself appeared to be a deterrent to reoffending.
The Commissioner added: “Residential burglaries in Derbyshire have reduced by nearly a third (32%) since 2019/20 (pre-Covid) with the latest figures to the end of September 2022 standing at 2,636 offences. However, we must not be complacent, and I will continue to monitor closely the prevention work underway to reduce reoffending and hold the Chief Constable to account for the further delivery of improvements.
“The public must have trust that officers will be there when they need them to collect evidence and do everything possible to ensure perpetrators are caught and punished for their crimes.”
The pilot is part of work aimed at preventing reoffending rather than for the purpose of aiding the detection of crime.
The prosecutions which followed the first phase of the pilot involved a knife point robbery by one offender and two burglaries by another offender. Both were swiftly recalled to prison by Probation and received further custodial sentences.
The Commissioner said that while every report of acquisitive crime was one too many, it was reassuring that tagged offenders had not substantially contributed to the 6,000 acquisitive crimes reported in the first six months of the project.
The Commissioner is spearheading additional work to tackle reoffending with the local criminal justice board to examine how the criminal justice system as a whole can do more to bring offenders to justice and prevent reoffending.
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