Last year saw a decrease of 16.5% in overall crimes reported to Wiltshire Police as a result of Covid restrictions and lockdowns.

The Office of National Statistics has today (13/05) released the figures for the 12 months leading up to December 2020, which shows the Force had the lowest crime rate in the country last year.

Despite the decrease in overall crime there were still some crime types that saw an increase in the previous 12 months:

  • An increase in hate crime of 26% was recorded, with disability hate crime increasing by 53%, sexual orientation 67% and racial by 26%.
  • Domestic abuse related crimes increased by 10%, with exceptional high volumes recorded last summer as we moved out of the first lockdown.
  • Stalking and Harassment offences jumped by 15% after the Force changed the way in which it recorded offences and improved confidence from the public to report offences.

Chief Executive of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC), Kieran Kilgallen said: “Whilst the overall reduction in crime is welcome, the increases in recorded hate crime and domestic abuse remain a concern.

“We are also seeing a slight reduction in outcomes for domestic abuse offences and the OPCC continues to work with the Force to improve these. Part of this work includes the introduction of a domestic abuse arrest scrutiny panel to identify areas of improvement and ensure that offenders are dealt with appropriately.  

“We know that victims of domestic abuse have been trapped at homes with their abusers over the past year, so an increase was sadly inevitable, but I suspect that this is only part of the picture in Wiltshire.

“There will be many more victims suffering in silence who have been unable to report their abuse for a number of reasons and at the heart of the work our office delivers is commissioning specialist support for the victims affected by crimes, and that includes victims who report to the police, and those who don’t.”

Unsurprisingly, with stores being closed shoplifting reports saw a significant reduction of 48% and with people spending more time at home than before domestic burglaries also dropped by 35%.

More information about the support for victims of crime can be found at https://www.wiltshire-pcc.gov.uk/