Chief Constable Serena Kennedy has recognised the work of officers and staff across the force following the release of the Office of National Statistics (ONS) annual report for the year ending June 2023.
Despite an exceptionally challenging year, Merseyside Police has seen a decrease in all crime of 3.4% across the county for the year ending June 2023, compared to the national 2 per cent increase across England and Wales.
The force has seen a 4.5 per cent decrease in violence; burglary offences have decreased by 16.4 % (compared to the national one per cent decrease) and robbery has decreased by 8.8%, compared to a 10 per cent increase nationally. Sexual offences have also decreased by 7.2% (351 fewer crimes compared with last year), compared to a national decrease of 1.7 per cent.
On Merseyside, there has been a 4.7 per cent increase in shoplifting, compared to a national rise of 24.4 per cent.
Chief Constable Serena Kennedy said, “Reductions in crimes such as sexual offences, burglaries and robberies can have a great impact on our communities in Merseyside and we are pleased to see that in the last year we have seen a decrease in the number of victims on Merseyside.
“Burglary offences have decreased year on year across Merseyside thanks largely to Operation Castle, an operation targeted at reducing burglaries, bringing offenders to justice, and ultimately sparing residents the anguish of being a victim of burglary.”
“Merseyside Police is completely committed to protecting victims from sexual abuse and those who seek to do them harm. We have our own dedicated rape unit. This specialist Unity Team is committed to investigating and supporting victims through the whole investigative process so that we can maximise the best possible chance of conviction while at the same time ensuring that victims receive the highest level of help, advice and support.
“Our operations to tackle street-based serious violence are having a positive impact and it is pleasing to see that this financial year to date (1 April 2023 to 20 October 2023) we have seen significant decreases in homicides and gun crime discharges.
“This time last year our officers were investigating the murders of Sam Miller, Olivia Pratt-Korbel and Ashley Dale, and in the October and December, we saw the fatal shootings of Jackie Rutter and Elle Edwards. Since then we have seen the significant sentencings of Thomas Cashman (life sentence with 42 year tariff) and Connor Chapman (life sentence with a 48 year tariff) for the tragic murders of Olivia Pratt-Korbel and Elle Edwards.
“Since April this year we have seen a decrease in firearms discharges of 78 per cent, down from 42 discharges (15 injury; five fatal) to nine (three injury; 0 fatal) for the same period this year. We have also seen homicides decrease by 81 per cent for this financial year, reduced from 16 for the same period last year to two this year.
“We are relentless in our pursuit of those involved in organised crime, who bring fear and violence to our streets and we will not tolerate the use of firearms on our streets. Just this week officers from our Matrix disruption team carried out a land search in Leasowe and recovered several weapons including five knives, three golf clubs, and two metal bars, which means that community is safer now that we have taken those weapons off the streets.
“We also volunteered to be a lead pilot force for Serious Violence Reduction Orders (SVROs). This new legislation is currently trialling in Merseyside for the next two years which means we can monitor high-risk offenders, who have been convicted of an offence involving a bladed article or knife and undertake stop searches when they are in a public place.
“Working together with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) we have secured 44 Serious Violence Reduction Orders (SVROs) since the launch in April 202 and six arrests have been made for breaches of a SVRO.
“The carrying of bladed weapons can result in devastating consequences for those involved and the use of SVROs will help us to keep the pressure on those who persist in unlawfully carrying knives in Merseyside and reduce these figures in the years to come.”
“That said operational activity and just locking people up doesn’t solve the problem of gang related crime, including the use of guns and knives. Prevention plays a huge part in helping to change mindsets and behaviours through education and various interventions. We are working closely with our partners including the five local authorities, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, public health, education and third sector organisations to see how we can further reduce this type of behaviour in our communities in the long term.”
Chief Constable Kennedy added, “Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you to the officers and staff of Merseyside Police, who have faced numerous challenges in the last year. I see their commitment and dedication to the communities of Merseyside daily and I am proud of the work they do, and I have no doubt that their work is helping to drive down crime on the streets of Merseyside.”
Image: Chief Constable Serena Kennedy