Thames Valley Police Release Crime Statistics Report

Thames Valley Police (TVP) this week released statistics on their activity from the last financial year (1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024).    

They report there has been a reduction of knife enabled crime by over 10% year on year and violence and sexual violence against women and girls, has seen the charge rate for rape offences increase by 17.4% and for other sexual offences, the charge rate has gone up by 13.6%. Sadly, the report confirms there have been 58 deaths on our roads in the TVP area. TVP are proactively working  to reduce casualties. Officers have dealt with 14,132 people for speeding, driving without due care and attention, not wearing a seatbelt, driving without insurance and driving while distracted (using a mobile phone) and 4,303 people were arrested for drink or drug driving.

In Henley the highest number of crimes was in September 2023 with 109 crimes. The latest figures for March 2024 show there were 96 crimes; 31 violence and sex offences, 17 shoplifting, 11 public order and 37 other crimes.  You can keep up-to-date with the statistics here

TVP received over 400,000 calls to 999, 470,000 calls to 101 and over 108,000 online reports. They have attended 160,000 incidents, made 33,000 arrests, and helped find 5,687 missing people.

We were invited last month to Abingdon Police Station which handles calls to the police from Oxfordshire and Berkshire areas.  Each call is given a scale of 1-3 priority.  A screen shows how many calls are waiting for 999 and 101. TVP have a target to answer a 999 call within 10 secs. When we visited, the screen was showing that 96.7% of calls were achieving that target. Any dropped 999 calls are called back to confirm whether that person still needs help.

The call handlers go through a comprehensive 3-month training and mentoring programme before they take calls independently which can be complex at times.  Julie Upshell who has been working as a call handler for 5 years said “I had a lady who rang to say she had concern for a male friend who was talking about suicide.  During my questioning it became apparent the friend was stalking her. The case was picked up in an audit and I was praised for handling the case well and was given as example of good work on the internal intranet.  The inspector said to me afterwards if any of my family were on the phone she hoped she would get me.”

The call handlers are trained both in receiving calls and on the radio dispatch team.  At times the call handlers obviously receive calls on serious incidents and they have to work quickly with the radio dispatch team to get officers and other emergency services to the scene.  Julie said, “There are calls which affect you badly but there is a really good welfare support.”

The radio dispatch team work and rotate in different geographical areas and have access to detailed mapping software which allows them to deploy officers accurately as well as being able to block off areas as and when necessary.

Julie added, “I love the job because I like working with the public and the variety of the work.  You never know what each shift will entail. It keeps you on your toes.”

The biggest challenges in the job Julie explained were “resources of officers and getting information from the public when they are in a stressful situation as they can’t communicate.  Quite often they can’t tell you even where they are.”

You can read the full TVP report here

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