Concern as attacks continue to rise

Police incidents: Concerns have been raised about an increase in assaults in parts of Wyre. Below: Insp Steve Bell
Police incidents: Concerns have been raised about an increase in assaults in parts of Wyre. Below: Insp Steve Bell

Major concerns have today been raised over a sharp increase in the number of attacks in two Wyre towns.

Official police figures show soaring numbers of assaults have been recorded across Wyre over the past six months, with areas of Fleetwood and Cleveleys showing the biggest spike.

Inspector Steve Bell, of Fleetwood Police.

Inspector Steve Bell, of Fleetwood Police.

The official figures, obtained after a number of Wyre councillors reported an anecdotal rise in crime in their wards, show more than 100 incidents of non-domestic assaults have been reported in the borough in the past three months.

This is the second quarter in a row that figures have been up for the crime in Wyre, with three wards, Pharos, Jubilee and Rossall, at 17, 11 and 10 respectively, having the most.

The majority of victims, were aged between 16 and 20-years-old.

Council bosses said “challenging times” for a police force faced with finding millions of pounds of cuts has contributed to the rise.

But police said the increase is down to changes in the way crimes are recorded.

Coun David Walmsley, ward councillor for Jubilee in Cleveleys, said he has seen a 45 per cent rise in overall crime in his area compared to last year, including more burglaries, shop lifting and a small increase in drug crimes.

The councillor added: “I watch crime figures like a hawk and in Jubilee crime is up compared to last year.

“We know there’s been an increase in crimes across the Fylde coast this year and we know these are challenging times for the constabulary.

“The people to blame are those who engage in criminal activity.”

Insp Steve Bell, of Lancashire Police, said while there was a visible increase in figures, people should not be fearful of attacks, saying the rise was due to a change in the way crimes are logged by all police forces.

He added: “There has been that increase but it’s down to the way things are recorded, I don’t want people to feel fear.”

The Gazette reported in June how crime over the previous 12 months was up by 10 per cent in Wyre, compared to the year before - more than both Fylde (6.2 per cent) and Blackpool (3.6 per cent).

Deputy Chief Constable Andy Rhodes admitted savage Government cuts had left the force at “breaking point” and sparked the first increase in crime for several years.

Coun Evelyn Stephenson, ward councillor for Pharos in Fleetwood, said: “This ward has some troubled spots.

“It’s very, very sad.”

Numbers were sought after concerns were raised by Wyre Council’s overview and scrutiny committee that crime rates had increased dramatically in some wards.

Police figures show that overall 435, 454 and 417 crimes having been recorded by the police in July, August and September, respectively.

While these figures remain “static” overall, there was a rise in the number of assaults with injury for the second quarter in a row, which stood at 101.

From April 2014 to present day there have been 308 assaults recorded, up by 97 from 2013.

However, police have said they put this down to changes in constabulary auditing practices and changes to comply with national crime recording standards, replicated across Lancashire.

Now the matter is set to be discussed by councillors at the next overview and scrutiny committee meeting on Monday, November 17, at the Civic Centre in Poulton.