Hampshire police are doing a fantastic job

The Rev Canon Bob White with representatives of the groups involved in our Christmas campaignh run with churches in Portsmouth - Comfort and Joy

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Last week’s headlines featured better news about the economy. The Bank of England now expects GDP to rise by 0.6 per cent in the third quarter of this year, and interest rates could stay at 0.5 per cent until 2016.

There have been some very welcome statistics in another area too – crime.

Crime in England and Wales has fallen by nine per cent over the past year, with crime rates now at their lowest level since statistics began in 1981. There was a 15 per cent fall in car theft, seven per cent fall in burglary, six per cent fall in violent crime and 13 per cent fall in vandalism.

This is good news for Hampshire and the main reason for the fall in crime is that the police have been doing a fantastic job.

They have embraced technology, using prediction software to analyse crime patterns, guess the locations of future offences and prevent them.

Public use of technology has helped too; window locks, security alarms and improved car security mean that some crimes are being ‘designed out’.

Hampshire Constabulary has also realised the importance of working with local communities, especially in rural areas. The Country Watch programme, allows police efforts to be targeted on crimes specific to those areas, such as fly tipping and poaching; essential in Hampshire, where many people live in less urban areas.

Hampshire County Council has a strong relationship with the police through the Community Safety Partnership with Policy Community Support Officers and Accredited Community Safety Officers assisting regular police officers to tackle crime at all levels.

East Hampshire has always been a relatively safe area in which to live, but we are not immune to anti-social behaviour and other criminal activity. The work done by the police and local authorities to date has been hugely productive, but only by everyone working together – police, neighbourhood watches, the entire community – will we see crime rates fall further still.