Isle of Man police chief reflects on ‘year like no other’ in Annual Report

IOM police chief reflects on ‘year like no other’ in Annual Report

Policing the Island and keeping the public safe amid the extraordinary circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic saw officers, support staff and volunteers respond to unprecedented challenges, Chief Constable Gary Roberts has said.

The Constabulary’s approach to the pandemic and the three lockdowns during the 12 month period feature prominently in the Chief Constable’s Annual Report 2020-2021 which was published today.

The report described the impact of the lockdowns on people’s mental wellbeing, and confirmed a rise in crime levels over the year in a number of areas, notably domestic abuse, online fraud, assaults and anti-social behaviour, which saw a marked increase last summer.

It also revealed a rise of 18% in the Island’s overall crime rate in 2020/21, which it says is in part accounted for by a spike in drug seizures, as small consignments of illegal drugs were sent through the postal system and via couriers when the Island’s borders were closed.

But, Mr Roberts said, it also sets out how the force created a "focused and flexible COVID-19 policing plan", implementing a new command structure and, in what's described as a substantial logistical exercise, reconfiguring the duties of officers and teams Island-wide.

Chief Constable Gary Roberts

The threat posed by Class A drugs to individuals and society, and the drugs trade’s links to serious and organised crime is raised again in this year’s report - with the involvement of young people in drugs highlighted as a particular concern.

Mr Roberts said efforts are underway to address some key underlying issues through a partnership approach with agencies including Public Health and local authorities, and a violent crime reduction plan will be implemented in the year ahead.

More widely, a restorative programme to deter reoffending has been extended to all new offenders.

The report provides a link to detailed crime data tables and analysis broken down by crime category and geographic area, alongside a comprehensive description of police activity across the board over the 12 month period, while a striking infographic shows the policing year in numbers.