Summer crime drop figures questioned

THERE has been a significant drop in the number of crimes in Sidmouth during August, compared with other years. In a written report to town councillors,

THERE has been a "significant" drop in the number of crimes in Sidmouth during August, compared with other years.

In a written report to town councillors, Sidmouth neighbourhood beat manager PC Steve Lemon said police had attended 279 incidents, of which six were house burglaries and one was a non-residential burglary.

Nineteen offences of theft were committed and 12 offences of violence were recorded, together with four of criminal damage and 12 offences relating to either theft from or of, or damage to cars or bicycles.

PC Lemon reported: "As you will see August's Crime figures have seen a significant drop year on year, which is remarkable, this being probably Sidmouth's busiest month.

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"In my opinion this year's folk festival was one of the better-natured festivals I have worked.

"The neighbourhood team dealt with a wide range of incidents from finding a stolen car, missing children and in detecting in excess of 35 drugs offences.

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"We did work hard on some of the more boisterous visitors on their first day in Sidmouth and three were arrested, which set a precedent.

"The remainder of this group did not cause too many problems at all."

Councillor Ann Liverton felt the lower crime figures were not a true reflection of the incidents happening in town, but skewed by the lack of a telephone number to contact local police.

"It is an on-going problem not having a phone number. We have been beating our heads against a brick wall for ages and nothing is done," she said.

"I think we should write to the Home Secretary and our MP about the lack of a number to get through to the police that doesn't require a 999 call.

"I think that is the reason crime figures are so low, because people can't wait on the phone for three-quarters-of-an-hour and will not report cases because of this."

* Crime trends for Sidmouth, Sidford, Sidbury and Newton Poppleford show there were 101 crimes in August 2008, compared with 149 last year, 134 in August 2005 and 123 in August 2006.

August records the highest number of crimes, which does not include domestic arguments, in each year.

Only 68 crimes were committed in July this year, compared with 128 the same month in 2005.

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