They're making very rich pickings - at our cost. As the Christmas shopping spree reaches fever pitch, pickpockets are out in forces taking advantage of crowded high streets and shopping centres to help themselves to our hard-earned cash. So how can you prevent them ruining your Christmas? Well as Callum Watkinson reports, police have now released a video highlighting what we need to watch out for.
Thames Valley Police is recognised for its victim-centred approach, in a report issued today (18/11) by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC).
HMIC’s Crime Data Integrity report examined the extent police-recorded crime can be trusted. It set out to look at how confident the public can be in the accuracy of police-recorded crime data, how effective police leaders are in their oversight, how well victims are served by the police and whether the outcomes achieved are appropriate.
The report states the Force promotes a victim-centred approach through its policies and communication with officers and staff. Regular victim satisfaction surveys are undertaken as required nationally and the victim satisfaction level remains high at 89.1 per cent.
Thames Valley Police is above the England and Wales average for compliance for reports of crimes which are subsequently recorded as crimes, when sampled by HMIC. Additionally Thames Valley Police’s accuracy of ‘no crime’ decisions is also above the national average.
HMIC highlighted the recording of rape and other sexual offences to be a matter of serious concern on a national level in the report. However it stated all TVP officers who were spoken to have a clear understanding of the policy for dealing with reports of rape.
Reports of rape within the Thames Valley are monitored effectively which ensures correct and timely recording.
“It is important that we have an accurate picture of the crime in Thames Valley so that we can prevent crime and disorder, bring offenders to justice and put our resources where they are most needed.
“Nationally the report paints a mixed picture – not all Forces are recording crime accurately -and 800,000 crimes which are reported to the police are unrecorded each year.
“While we recognise that there is still work to do, we are addressing areas for improvement. Overall the report is positive as it shows the police recording of crime can be trusted in the Thames Valley.
“This is reflected in the fact that crime in the Force area is at its lowest for 25 years.”
Following the publication of HMIC's inspection report on Sussex Police's recording of crimes, Ppolice & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: "Every victim of crime in Sussex who has made the sometimes difficult step to report an offence quite rightly expects the police to record it accurately and take the right action.
"In the past Sussex was not getting it right often enough achieving an 83% level of compliance with national crime reporting standards which was below thenational average.So I am pleased to see the current levels of 97% following a major review and programme to make ethical and accurate crime recording business as usual for the force.
"The HMIC inspection examined 157 incidents and found that 111 out of 133 crimes were recorded, which meantthat 22 crimes were not recorded. That was simply not good enough for victims, some of whom would not have been offered the right support or access to specialist services, so I fully endorse HMIC's recommendation that "reports of crime are recorded as crime".
"A review commissioned by the Chief Constable highlighted a lack of understanding of crime recording rules, complex and unnecessary hurdles in the old computer system and mistakes building up because data was manually re-entered several times by different people. HMIC also notes there is nothing to suggest that crime recording errors were intentional or malicious.
"I am pleased to be able to reassure the public that the Chief Constable set up a senior project team in March this year to completely re-engineer the crime recording process. After a six month project led by the Deputy Chief Constable, the force now has an Information Management strategy, joined up IT systems and a simplified crime recording framework supported by new training programmes for staff. With officers now able to enter data directly and cutting out unnecessary duplication in the system crime recordingaccuracy has improved to 97%.
"This much improved performance over thelast six months has been driven by strong leadership and an organisational determination to ensure thecrime recording processes and culture in SussexPolice are thorough, and officers arenow better placed to serve victims of crime and retain the trust of the public.”
Police are appealing for help in tracking down a gang who've raided almost 100 homes in the South East. A reward of more than ten thousand pounds is being offered.
So far 51 properties in East and West Sussex have been targeted. 35 in Kent and 10 in Surrey and London.
Police forces involved have put up a reward of £7,500 and Crimestoppers is offering another £3,000 for information leading to the arrested an conviction of of the burglars.
Police say they are appealing for witnesses after a 32-year-old woman was attacked by a gang of men and women as she walked home in Brighton.
The South Korean student was walking along a woodland path from Stanmer Park towards Coldean Lane at about 10pm on Friday when she was approached by two men and two women.
One of the group flashed a torch in the victim's eyes. A man then hit her on the arm with a large piece of wood and told her to give them her handbag. The victim was then pushed to the ground.
She suffered a broken arm but managed to get to her feet and ran down the path to a nearby shop to raise the alarm.
The attacker was described black, slim and about 6' 4".
Detective Constable Chris Bishop said: "This was a very nasty attack on a lone woman walking home late at night.
"The group made sure she was in an isolated spot before attacking her. The victim has been left very shaken by what happened.
"We need to speak to anyone who was in the area and saw or heard any part of what happened. We are also keen to speak to anyone who saw a group of people matching the description of the attackers walking in or near Coldean Lane."
Anyone with any information should email email@example.com quoting serial 1766 of 26/09, call 101 or contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
Crime books and TV programmes have never been so popular, but in Hastings there's another way to immerse yourself in the criminal underworld. A new 'museum of crime' has opened in the seaside resort. Andrea Thomas has been taking a look. She spoke to curator Joel Griggs.
Crime in Dorset has fallen by nearly 6% in the last year, according to the latest figures by National Statistics.
The drop saw 37,212 recorded offences in Dorset between April 2013 and March 2014, compared to 39,525 in the previous year.
The fall has seen a reduction of 2,313 crimes in the county.
Dwelling burglary has seen a decrease of 9.0%, with the number of crimes falling from 1,899 to 1,715.
Vehicle crime has fallen by 15.8 per cent, with 4,204 recorded offences compared to 4,992 last year, and serious violent crime has decreased by 4.7%.
I am delighted that crime continues to fall across the county.
“These figures show that there were 2,313 fewer crimes reported to Dorset Police between April and March 2013/14 compared to the same period last year.
“We continue to work together with local communities and other public services to make Dorset safer, and it is by working in close partnership that we have been able to achieve this reduction in crime.
“Despite these encouraging statistics we are not complacent, and there are challenges that the Force is working to overcome as we head towards 2015.
A Folkestone man has been found guilty of beating a homeless person to death in a jealous rage.
55 year old Brain Sharp of Manor Road, Folkestone, was found guilty of murdering Tim Clayton at Canterbury Crown Court. The victim was a friend of Sharp's girlfriend.
Sharp will be sentenced on 2 July.
Statement from #RuiLi daughter, Lu Yao, 18. "This is really out of character and I am really worried. I really miss her."
Det Supt Kevin Connolly: We are currently searching Rui Li's home at 30 Burnham Drive, Queens Park, Bournemouth.
Det Supt Connolly: Searches at Cromer Motors, St Clement's Rd, 118 Wolverton Rd, 31 Spring Rd, a flat at 71 Sea Rd - all in Boscombe.
Det Supt Connolly: A further search taking place at 64 Meon Road, Southbourne.