Sharp Increase in Violent Crime and Domestic Abuse in Copeland

Figures uncovered by Copeland MP Jamie Reed reveal a concerning rise in the number of violent crimes committed in Copeland. Reported crimes of violence against the person in the Copeland Community Safety Partnership have risen from 680 cases in the year to June 2010, to 1,057 in 2014/15. This is an increase of 55% since the Government came to office in 2010.
Moreover according to the Cumbria Crime and Community Safety Strategic Assessment for the Copeland District, crime rates have risen significantly since 2010. In the year 2013/14 crime in Copeland District increased by 19% – the greatest crime increase of all districts across the county. During this period Copeland experienced increases in domestic violence, sexual offences, violence against the person and alcohol related violence, business crime, criminal damage and burglaries.

Concerns have been raised nationally about how crimes of domestic violence and violence against women are handled by the police as thousands of perpetrators are dealt with by community resolution which does not result in a criminal record. In the Copeland District in 2013/14 there were 1,370 incidents of domestic violence and 78 sexual offences. There has been an increase in incidents of domestic violence of 16.8% as well as an increase in the repeat victim rate. Meanwhile numbers of sexual offences almost doubled.

The Community Safety Strategic Assessment cites Government welfare reforms as a likely factor in these rising rates of crime and explains that they expect that rates may continue to rise. The report states that:

Not only could the reduction in benefits and household income add further financial pressure in the home but it is planned for a household to receive the one benefit (Universal Credit) and not an individual therefore allowing greater power to the offender and increasing the vulnerability of the victim. The government has pledged to support known cases however many victims and cases are hidden and remain unknown. Some welfare reform changes have already taken place but further reforms are planned up until 2017. Services may experience an increase in demand”.

Copeland MP and Labour’s Shadow Health Minister, Jamie Reed MP said:

“The Government must get a grip on crime to protect communities like Copeland. So far they have been complacent on crime and are letting victims down.

“The Conservative Government have broken their promise to introduce an automatic jail sentence for carrying a knife and they have delivered cuts to compensation and access to justice. The proposed closure of the West Cumbria Magistrates and County Court is just one example of the way that access to justice is being restricted for victims in Copeland. The Government have also broken their promise to protect the frontline. Cumbria Constabulary is set to lose over 150 front line police officers by 2019 as part of a £10.8 million budget cut over the next four years, whilst millions have been wasted on Police and Crime Commissioner Elections.

“The concerning rise in the number of crimes of domestic violence and sexual offences must be addressed immediately and I plan to write to the Government to ask them to take immediate action to tackle the causes of these abhorrent crimes, and to ensure high quality, dignified help and support for victims.

“I want to send a clear message to the Government – they must ensure proper protection from crime for our communities and provide improved support and access to justice for victims.”

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