England

Devon and Cornwall's crime rate down by 10%

Devon and Cornwall is the fourth safest policing area in England and Wales, according to the Home Office.

Figures released by the government show there was a 10% reduction in recorded crime in the force area last year, with 56 crimes per 1,000 people.

Crime was lower in several areas, but the biggest reduction was in vehicle thefts, which fell by 27%.

A 13% rise in sexual offences has been attributed to better victim support, resulting in increased reporting.

Deputy Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer said: "These figures show that Devon and Cornwall is a safe place to live, work and visit, and that great strides have been made in the last year to make it even safer.

'Residents' help'

"More than 10,000 fewer crimes mean many thousands less people have suffered at the hands of offenders as a result."

He said the reductions in crime were greater than both national and regional averages and were a tribute to all officers, staff and partners.

The total number of crimes committed in England and Wales also fell to 9.6 million in 2009/10 - the lowest level since records began in 1981.

But the fear of crime in Devon and Cornwall remains disproportionately high according to the British Crime Survey, (BCS) which looks at people's views and perceptions of crime.

When asked about Devon and Cornwall Police, 63% said they thought the force was doing a good or excellent job in their area - the second highest in England and Wales.

Mr Sawyer said while that was "encouraging", there were always areas to learn and improve.

He said the force was committed to working with communities and partner agencies to find local solutions for local issues.

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