Christmas Day crime in Hampshire revealed

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A man spotted on CCTV at robbery at Co-op in Twyford Avenue, Stamshaw on Saturday, July 22. Picture: Hampshire police

Robber chased by pub punters after threatening Co-op workers in Portsmouth

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‘Tis the season to be jolly ­ but an investigation has revealed the crimes that make Christmas

anything but merry for many Hampshire families.

Almost half of all 999 Christmas Day calls in the region centered around violence, according to

information released to us by Hampshire Constabulary, which offers a snapshot of what police will have to deal with this December 25.

However, while Hampshire Police are currently running a Christmas drink drive campaign,

statistics for last year reveal it could be abuse in the home that inflicts the most misery upon

victims tomorrow.

“Christmas is meant to be a time of joy, a time of generosity, a time of caring. But for too many

women and children, December 25 will be yet another day of living with fear, intimidation and

violence.”

Those are the words of Sandra Horley CBE, chief executive of national domestic violence charity

Refuge.

She was speaking after our investigation revealed that last Christmas, the force received a call every

nine minutes ­ with dozens of those relating to domestic violence.

“Some police forces see increases in reports of domestic violence incidents at Christmas. This

may be because many police forces run high profile awareness campaigns around Christmas

time,” added Sandra.

“It can be very difficult for a woman experiencing domestic violence to access support during the

festive period – a period when her abusive partner may be spending more time at home and

monitoring her behavior more closely than ever.

“Domestic violence is an abuse of power – it is the repeated, habitual use of violence and

intimidation to control another person. We cannot blame domestic violence on Christmas,

alcohol, drugs, unemployment, stress, money worries or ill health. These are just excuses for an

abuser’s behaviour.”

Two women a week are killed nationally as a direct result of domestic violence, while one in four

women will be subjected to it during their lives.

According to Sandra, for some, domestic abuse is part of their whole lives. She adds: “The police

should be encouraging women to reach out for support every day of the year, not just at

Christmas.”

Last year police dealt with everything from drugs to festive flashers.

Police were needed to deal with criminals breaching their ASBOs and restraining orders and

people suspected of carrying knives in public.

And there were dozens of violent attacks around the region, with officers even attacked on duty.

“People seem to think that because it’s Christmas, the world just stops and that includes crime,”

said a police source.

“But as you can see, it’s just like any other day in terms of what we have to deal with. In many

ways it is worse because you have that cocktail of drink and family which is often the fuel behind

so much crime.

“And because it’s Christmas, it’s usually the day you get some of the weirdest crimes of the year.

Around the country our investigation, through the Freedom of Information act, revealed police

were called to investigate everything from UFOs to giants lizards on the loose on country roads.

Police were even needed after a brotherly dispute ended with one sibling shooting the other ­ in

the backside.

But, in Hampshire, the biggest problem was undoubtedly violence.

Of the 160 crimes committed last Christmas, just under half involved violence in some capacity.

Actual Bodily Harm counted for 39 incidents alone, the most common crime encountered by

police.

Southampton narrowly beat Portsmouth to the title of Hampshire’s Christmas crime capital.

And while it is the season of giving, for over a dozen crooks it was the season for stealing, with 13

properties hit by burglars.

However it seems Christmas is also the season of forgiveness, with victims almost as likely to

drop the charges as they are to see the suspect in court.

Under a quarter of suspects from last Christmas Day were charged,while police failed to identify a

suspect in 55 cases ­ and two people died before prosecution.

Hampshire Constabulary’s public efforts to combat Christmas crime this year has largely focused

on drink driving, despite our probe revealing nobody was arrested last Christmas day for drink

driving.

The force’s ‘Where Will You End Up Tonight?’ drink­drive campaign has so far netted 85 arrests,

according to the latest police figures.

Hampshire road safety Sergeant Rob Heard said: “Preventing and catching drivers under the

influence of drink or drugs remains an absolute priority for police at this time of year.

“Officers are on regular patrols across the Isle of Wight and Hampshire taking a rigorous

approach to stopping those motorists endangering lives through their reckless actions.”

“Everyone should remember the catastrophic consequences for individuals and their families

when a death or injury occurs as a result of drink or drug driving.”

As part of the campaign Hampshire Constabulary have also worked with the Staley family, who

have shared their story of their daughter Evey’s death and allowed the car involved in her fatal

collision to be displayed around the county this month.

Sergeant Heard added: “The first­hand experience of witnessing the destruction that can be

caused by a drink­driving collision underlines why it’s not worth the risk.”

Hampshire Constabulary is urging people to report impaired drivers by calling 101 or texting

80999 with details of the vehicle, driver, location and times, or report anonymously with

Crimestoppers charity by phoning 0800 555 111.