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PSNI Reports Decrease in Crime Despite Funding Challenges

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The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has published its latest annual crime statistics, revealing a significant reduction in crime across all districts in Northern Ireland.

The newly released figures provide detailed insights into various categories, including crime, anti-social behaviour, domestic abuse, hate-motivated crime, and drug seizures.

Despite recent changes in crime-recording processes, the statistics show 7,067 fewer crimes compared to the previous year, a 6.3% decrease from 2022/23. This equates to nearly 600 fewer crimes each month.

Anti-social behaviour incidents have reached a record low, with 45,358 reported cases in Northern Ireland—a decrease of 1,943 incidents (4.1%) from the previous 12 months.

Deputy Chief Constable Chris Todd expressed his approval of the reductions, stating, “These very welcome reductions should reassure the public that Northern Ireland remains one of the safest parts of the UK to live, work, and do business.”

He commended the efforts of officers and staff, noting, “These efforts are all the more remarkable given the significant resource pressures which our officers and staff have found themselves working under throughout this period. My colleagues have proven yet again that despite resource challenges, they continue to do their best to keep people safe.”

However, Todd voiced concerns about the sustainability of these improvements without better funding. “Our ability to repeat such a strong performance is going to be at risk if we are unable to find a more effective and sustainable way to fund policing in Northern Ireland. We are now well into a new financial year and are still without a budget allocation,” he said.

He highlighted the strain on officers and staff, adding, “As the Chief Constable has made very clear to the Policing Board and others, our ability to support victims and investigate crime is being stretched to breaking point, and the burden is being felt by our officers and staff.”

While celebrating the overall decrease in crime, Todd acknowledged ongoing concerns, particularly with hate-motivated incidents and shoplifting. He also emphasized the importance of addressing violence, abuse, and intimidation against women and girls by targeting neighbourhood policing resources to areas where they feel unsafe.

Proactive measures have resulted in an average of 73 arrests per month for the new domestic abuse offence, 15 for stalking, and 77 for non-fatal strangulation since new legislation was introduced in June 2023.

Although domestic abuse crimes have decreased, incident reporting remains high, indicating that victims are more willing to engage with the police earlier, allowing for safeguarding measures before situations escalate.

Deputy Chief Constable Todd reaffirmed the PSNI’s commitment, stating, “We will continue to use every power available to us and send a strong message to all potential perpetrators, that despite the current financial challenges, we remain committed to doing all we can to keep people safe.”

He reiterated the urgent need for sustainable funding, saying, “Our ability to repeat such a strong performance is going to be at risk if we are unable to find a more effective and sustainable way to fund policing in Northern Ireland.”

Assistant Chief Constable Chris Todd, Police Service of Northern Ireland

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