Posted: 10.01.22 at 13:10 by Rory Poulter
Richmond has the lowest crime rates in London with the number of officially reported offences down by just over 10% last year.
Figures published by the Metropolitan Police puts the total at 11,025 in 2021, which was down by 1,255 on the year before.
That puts the crime rate per 1,000 people at 55.1, which compares to 61.4 in 2020.
The fall may well offer reassurance to residents, however it also raises questions about whether they represent a genuine fall or a change in policing methods.
At the same time local MPs, councillors and residents have complained about a lack of officers to enforce the law and keep the area’s streets safe.
The biggest fall was seen in officially recorded drug offences, which were down from 621 in 2020 to 396 in 2021 – a drop of 225 or just over 36%.
It seems unlikely that drug dealing or taking has fallen over the past year. Just last week, police in Kew stepped up patrols to target dealers, while there are long-standing problems around both Richmond Green and Twickenham Green.
The fall may be related to officers deciding to deal with possession of small amounts of cannabis with a warning rather than putting offenders into the criminal justice system.
It emerged last week that the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is developing a plan based on a successful model from Thames Valley police that would offer classes or counselling, rather than arrest, to under-25s caught with small quantities of cannabis.
The official figures show a small fall in violence against the person with offences down from 3,020 to 2,986. This was in a year that the borough saw two murders, one of a Richmond College student, Hazrat Wali, aged 18, and Tim Hipperson, aged 39.
Last year also saw arrests of teen girls involved in gang attacks on girls as young as 12, which drew condemnation from parents and MP Munira Wilson.
The figures show a big fall in vehicle offences, which were down from 2,303 in 2020 to 1,743 last year. That equates to a drop of 560 or 24.3per cent.
Household burglaries were down from 1,299 to 1,023 – a fall of 276 or 21.2% - which may reflect the fact that people have been working from home, so deterring thieves.
While most crimes appear to be falling there was a sharp increases in sexual offences, rising from 271 to 330 – an increase of almost 22per cent.
In October, Police urged women and girls who are victims of indecent exposure to come forward.
The plea came after officers received information on a large number of previously unreported cases following an appeal for help in relation to two specific allegations in the summer.
At the time, the police said: “We received numerous comments from women who shared their experiences as victims of indecent exposure. It was concerning to read these accounts and we believe this is an under-reported crime.”
Richmond Council has signed up to the White Ribbon initiative, which is a global campaign that encourages people, and especially men and boys, to act and change the behaviour and culture that leads to abuse and violence.
In December, a torchlight parade from Richmond through to Twickenham was held to raise awareness of violence against women and girls.
Looking at the London crime figures, Richmond had the lowest levels both in terms of the number per 1,000 people – 55.1 – and the absolute total - 11,025.
The second lowest total was Kingston at 11,826 – a rate of 65.5 - and Sutton at 12,857 – 62.
Most crimes were committed in Westminster at 50,962 with a rate of 202 per 1,000. The rate was 115.3 in Kensington & Chelsea; and 111.6 in Hammersmith & Fulham.
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