Crime down in Blackpool... but up in Fylde and Wyre

Crime on the Fylde coast is on the rise. Below: Rachel Baines
Crime on the Fylde coast is on the rise. Below: Rachel Baines

Police in Blackpool have today welcomed falling crime rates in the resort as the rest of the Fylde coast has seen the number of offences soar.

The latest official figures, which cover the 12 months up to the end of September, reveal Blackpool’s two per cent drop in crime was not enough to offset increases in Fylde and Wyre.

Funding fears: Rachel Baines and, below, Clive Grunshaw

Funding fears: Rachel Baines and, below, Clive Grunshaw

And as Lancashire Police struggles to cope with savage cuts to its budget, the falling crime rates in parts of the country have prompted fears a lack of public confidence has led to offences going unreported.

Rachel Baines, chairman of the Lancashire Police Federation, which represent rank and file officers, said: “It is really important we don’t get complacent.

“There are all sorts of stories behind every single crime figure and this does not paint a full and accurate picture of what is going on. It would be dangerous to look at the crime figures alone and think cuts to police budgets are not having an effect.”

Despite a surge in burglaries, crime in Blackpool is approaching its all-time low – a total of 15,886 offences were reported during the year, down from 16,206 in the previous 12 months.

Shoplifting fell by almost 11 per cent – to 1,440 – while violence with injury is down by five per cent. Robbery also dropped by 10 per cent, to 133 cases.

Insp James Martin, who covers the town centre, said: “The crime picture in central Blackpool is good.

“Shoplifting is down and the level of violence is down. Violence without injury has gone up a bit but that could be down to access to police or recording standards.”

Domestic burglary is up by a fifth across the area – just over 10 per cent in Blackpool, 40 per cent in Fylde and 45 per cent in Wyre – amounting to 1,233 offences.

Ms Baines said crime figures only account for around 20 per cent of police work and said the figures don’t reflect the increase in workload as a result of online fraud.

She added: “Cuts to policing have consequences and police can’t get to certain things they did before – that could have something to do with under-reporting.

“The Government is trying to say this is a good news story, that we don’t need all these police officers because crime is going down, but this is not the whole story.”

Crime in Fylde and Wyre is at its highest level since 2010, after increases of 12 per cent and seven per cent respectively.

In Fylde, domestic burglary, 211 offences, is at its highest level since 2006, while shoplifting, 324 offences, is at an 11-year high.

Shoplifting in Wyre is also at a record high, although quarterly figures show a surge at the start of 2014 is starting to ease.

Supt Damian Darcy, of Lancashire Police, said: “It is especially disappointing that over a third of all our burglaries involve insecure premises.

“There are basic things people can do to keep their homes and property safe such as securing doors and windows, not leaving tools or ladders outside which burglars can use to break in to homes and reporting anything suspicious to the police.”