Crime in Lancaster district falls significantly over last year, but drug offences are up
Crime has fallen over the last year in Lancaster, official police records reveal.
Changes in society while coronavirus restrictions were in place led to most types of crime plummeting nationally over the period – although drug offences rose by nearly a third during lockdown – the Office for National Statistics said.
Lancashire Constabulary recorded 11,585 offences in Lancaster in the 12 months to June, according to the ONS.
That was a decrease of 22 per cent compared to the previous year, when there were 14,799.
At 79 crimes per 1,000 people, that was lower than the rate across England and Wales, which stood at 85.
Crimes recorded in Lancaster included:
393 sexual offences, a decrease of 17%
4,460 violent offences, a decrease of 23%
1,620 incidents of criminal damage and arson, down 13%
240 drug offences, up 17%
86 possession of weapons such as firearms or knives, up 10%
718 public order offences, down 36%
3,693 theft offences, down 23%
Overall, police recorded 4% fewer crimes across England and Wales, with around 5.8 million offences recorded in the year to June.
This excludes those recorded by Greater Manchester Police, whose data was compromised after the installation of new IT software.
The fall was driven by a reduction in crime between April and June when national lockdown restrictions were in place. Robberies saw the most noticeable drop during this period (47%), while theft offences fell by 43%.
In contrast, drug crimes soared by 30% over the three months, with offences rising from 44,064 in April to June 2019, to 57,132 this year.
Billy Gazard, from the ONS centre for crime and justice, said the drop in crime over the year could mainly be put down to changes during the coronavirus lockdown, but said police recording of drug offences “increased sharply throughout the April to June period, reflecting proactive police activity as overall crime levels reduced”.
“There are indications that crime levels in June were moving back towards pre-lockdown levels,” he added.
John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: "Although crime fell during the pandemic the pressure on the police remained.
"Policing had to adapt to a situation unlike anything we had experienced before and continues to do so even as the national lockdown was lifted and crime returned to pre-lockdown levels.
"That pressure has increased with local lockdowns being rolled out and because of the additional challenges they bring to policing."