The Police Service of Northern Ireland has published its annual crime statistics for 2018/19 today (Friday 17 May).
During the last financial year, there were 100,995 recorded offences in Northern Ireland, equating to an increase of 2.9% or 2,875 crimes, compared to the same period in 2017/18. Recorded crime rose in six of the nine main classifications, with the largest proportional increase in robbery, which was up 10.7% to 639 offences. Recorded crime in Belfast City was up by 1.6%, while in Derry City & Strabane, it was down by 1%.
Assistant Chief Constable Tim Mairs said: “While it is disappointing that across Northern Ireland, the recording of crime overall seems to have increased by just under 3%, this figure needs to be wholly understood. How police record some offences has changed - which has had an impact on these statistics. Changes in the way crimes are recorded according to the Home Office Counting Rules have contributed to this increase.*
“However, we fully recognise the impact crimes such as robbery can have on people’s lives and livelihoods. We are not complacent about any crime or any offence - and police officers will continue to work round the clock to keep people and communities safe.
“Of course, an increase in the reporting of crime to police can also indicate greater confidence in policing. We believe this is the case around domestic abuse - where in 2018/19, we saw in increase of 11.4% in this type of crime on the previous 12 months. The number of recorded incidents of domestic abuse rose to 31,682 - an increase on the previous 12 months and the highest figure recorded since 2004/05.
“I welcome the impact we are having on drug detection. This year there was a 10.3% increase in drug offences to 7,106 - the majority of which relate to drug possession offences. This is more than six times higher than back in 2001/02. We are continuing to remove more drugs from our streets, reduce the harm to our communities and bring those responsible before the courts.
“Lower levels of burglary accounted for the majority of the reductions seen within police recorded crime. These offences have been showing a general downwards trend over the last 24 months and have fallen by 10.2% over the last 12 months.
“The levels of anti-social behaviour in Northern Ireland are at their lowest since 2006/07. This year there were 56,503 incidents of ASB which is a 7.7% decrease on the previous 12 months. Nine of the 11 policing districts showed lower levels of anti-social behaviour.
“We work in a challenging environment: we have less officers in the Police Service and in the last five years have also experienced cuts to our budget of £150m. Despite this, we will continue to work hard in the communities we serve and strive to be an even more effective and efficient Police Service.
“It is vital that people continue to tell us about crime when they see it or experience it. We can only work to address issues when we know about them. I would encourage anyone who has been a victim of crime or has information about crime to report it to us.”
The PSNI statistics are available on the website: https://www.psni.police.uk/inside-psni/Statistics/police-recorded-crime-statistics/