Sleaford and North Kesteven have been ranked the safest place to live in England and Wales for the third year running according to crime statistics released today.
Figures for the 12 months up to last April show that as a proportion of population size not only were fewer crimes committed locally than anywhere else in the country, but that there were fewer than the year before.
North Kesteven District Council claims this is partly down to the work of the NK Community Safety Partnership which has assisted in the continual fall in crime locally over a number of years from 7th lowest in 2013 to maintaining the lowest levels over the last three consecutive years.
The authority says the figures illustrate the strong partnership between the police, community and partners including North Kesteven District Council.
The newly released National Crime Statistics show that during the year 2015/16 there were 24.3 crimes per 1,000 people in North Kesteven, down from 25.2 the year before. These include thefts, criminal damage, violence and public order offences but excludes fraud. This compares starkly to the worst areas of neighbouring Lincoln and Boston.
This is way ahead of other districts in the county, with South Holland next best on 41 crimes, West Lindsey on 41, South Kesteven on 42, East Lindsey on 49, Boston of 68 and Lincoln worst with 92.
Significantly North Kesteven was the best English local authority area in terms of the low levels of violence (worst were Lincoln, East Lindsey and Boston), violence without injury, criminal damage and arson committed locally; second placed for low incidence of public order offences and theft and within the top ten on a further six crime classifications – including thefts, possession of weapons offences and vehicle offences.
In terms of the absolute numbers of crime recorded – 2,699 offences – it ranked 11th lowest of all 281 English local authority areas.
There are 86 English local authority areas with lower population size than North Kesteven’s 111,000 residents and when calculated against each other the number of crimes by population ranks North Kesteven most favourably of all with 24 crimes per 1,000 population; followed by the Rutland and Forest of Dean community safety areas at 28.
The mid-placed area was York on 58.7 crimes per 1,000 people and the average for council areas most similar to North Kesteven in terms of rural characteristic is 35.1 crimes per 1,000 people.
North Kesteven District Council suggests its continued high ranking can be attributed to a strong community ethos and the success of a number of proactive systems working in tandem rather than any one particular initiative. These include targeted police work looking at locations and offenders, early arrests for prolific offenders and a joint agency approach where partners meet to monitor and respond to emerging anti-social behaviour and crime patterns to ensure early intervention.
Coun Mike Gallagher, chairman of the NK Community Safety Partnership, said: “To be the safest district in the country for the third year running and to see the number of crimes fall is a tremendous accolade for residents, businesses and everyone involved in keeping our community safe.
“We need everyone to maintain their vigilance and keep an eye out for their neighbours to ensure NK continues to be a safer, happier, healthier and better place for everyone who lives and works here.
“By ensuring people take simple, sensible steps in preventing crimes, by showing respect for each other, ensuring windows and doors are locked, and valuables are not left in vehicles we can all contribute to keeping crime low.”
The authority points out NKDC continues to invest heavily in its housing, leisure and community initiatives and has just spent £50,000 upgrading its CCTV system to a state-of- the-art digital network of cameras in Sleaford.
Alongside this the authority engages closely with communities, assisting where it can have an impact.
Coun Gallagher added: “The work undertaken by the council and its partners means that NK is a nice place to live with money invested in leisure and community areas. As a result, we have flourishing communities, giving people a sense of pride in where they live and work.
“We are also proactive at early intervention, addressing issues as they arise to ensure our communities remain safe. This early intervention, prevention and resolving issues before they escalate is embedded into the work of the council and police, and has contributed to these crime levels.”
Marc Jones, Police and Crime Commissioner for Lincolnshire, said: “This is great news and I thank both the North Kesteven Community Safety Partnership and our local policing team for their dedication in helping to reduce and prevent crime.
“By working together this helps to increase our local intelligence which is invaluable to our officers and PCSOs.
“If you do have information that could help to keep the district a safe place to be please call us on 101.
“You can also find out more about your local policing team on our website.”
○ NK is top overall, and also top in three specific crime categories.
○ NK is within the top 10 for 8 other crime categories, in the top 10 per cent for a further 5, and in the top 20 per cent for another 2 categories.
○ There area number of contributory facts behind NK’s success, including: rurality, close-knit, strong communities demographics of a generally older, more stable population, the recognition of the importance of prevention work, strong partnership working, the projects the CSP has developed over the last few years which provide sustainable tools in tackling crime, and especially the approach and work undertaken by Lincolnshire Police. Lincolnshire Police’s neighbourhood police model, surgeries, PCSO patrols, increased detection levels, parish councils also contribute to the wellbeing of the area and, low tolerance to crime.
○ The district’s leading low-crime status is seen as a consequence of established partnership work across all areas to reduce crime and disorder:
Licensing – positive, proactive implementation of licensing legislation on premises, taxis and Pubwatch
Environment Protection – enforcement across the board for waste, noise, etc and cleaning up fly-tipping and graffiti quickly to prevent a build-up and ‘broken-window’ effect
Housing – improved quality of doors and windows in council properties, housing officers’ approach to tenancy enforcement, measures to tackle domestic abuse and offer sanctuary, anti-social behaviour management and tenant liaison support
General – CCTV provision, support around welfare reform and benefits team, community events and provision of leisure, youth and community outreach facilities
Members – support and implementation of policies
Public – understanding the need to prevent crime, managing their own home/work/personal security.
Planning – ensuring that all new applications consider crime reduction opportunities in their design.