As part of Thames Valley Police’s commitment to give the public an insight into its work, today (28/10) the force is releasing statistics on its activity over the six months 1 April to 30 September 2022.
This period saw the force undertake one of its largest and most significant operations in its history, with more than 2,500 police officers and staff policing the committal service in Windsor of Her Majesty The Queen. Over the six months, the force policed high-profile Thames Valley events including Royal Ascot, Henley Regatta and Reading Festival.
Over this time, the force, which protects communities across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, received almost half a million contacts from public, attended almost 500 incidents a day and made 15,000 arrests; 30% of these arrests related to domestic abuse.
In May, the force launched its strategy to tackle Violence Against Women and Girls, focused on dealing with perpetrators and working with partners to identify sexual and violent offending at the earliest opportunity. The force’s focus has seen significant action taken against perpetrators, protecting vulnerable people in its communities. Between April and September the number of charges for sexual offences increased by 105%, rape by 8% and stalking and harassment by 45%. Meanwhile, formal action taken against domestic abuse offenders increased by 44%.
The force also dealt with areas of work often hidden from public view, but that are still extremely complex and require time, care and attention, such missing person investigations. Between 1 April and 30 September this year, Thames Valley Police found 3,319 missing people, 1,567 of which were children. In many cases the force supported the family and friends, desperate for news of their loved ones.
Tragically, officers attended nearly 800 sudden deaths, supporting loved ones through the immediate trauma of their loss and, where necessary, making reports to the coroner.
The impact of COVID restrictions on crime numbers can be seen in residential burglary. In 2019, the last comparable year before COVID, there were 3,412 burglaries reported in this period compared to 2,280 this year, a decrease of 33%. Numbers remain lower, with the number of residential burglaries between April and September 2021, recorded as 2,255.
Specialist units and our Operations department also tackled priority areas for the force. More than 2,400 drug dealing and drug possession crimes were recorded and 445 arrests made for knife-enabled crime, with officers working to take knives and drugs off the streets. Specialist teams, such as the Thames Valley Police Drugs Taskforce; and the rollout of Operation Deter, taking a zero tolerance approach to knife carrying in several areas, are helping tackle these crime types. Another new specialist team set up this year is the Rural Crime Taskforce, designed to tackle rural crime in the Thames Valley. The taskforce has achieved 50 formal action outcomes, an increase of 108% when compared to 2021.
Thames Valley Police continues to pursue criminal justice outcomes, demonstrating its commitment to taking dangerous offenders off the streets. Earlier this year, an Organised Crime Group was jailed for a total of 74 years for a string of ATM thefts, commercial burglaries and other serious offences. The force’s serious and organised crime teams also secured 60 convictions amounting to more than 340 years in prison. The force’s Cold Case team demonstrated the force’s commitment to justice, no matter how long it takes, with the conviction in May of Donald Robertson, who was sentenced to life for the murder of Shani Warren at Taplow Lake, Buckinghamshire, in 1987.
Thames Valley Police has a workforce of over 8,000 staff, officers and volunteers. For some officers just doing their job puts them in personal risk, with 658 reported crimes of assault against officers reported between April and September.
Over this period Thames Valley Police continued to welcome new officers into the force. More than 1,600 police officer applications were received between April and September, of which 17% of applicants were Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic, and 38% were women. A force recruitment campaign launched in June, part of a commitment to recruit an extra 702 officers in 2022-23 and build a workforce that reflects its communities. In May, Thames Valley Police launched its Race Action Plan to increase the trust and confidence of its diverse communities and address any racial disparities in the service. This October, the force also brought together a new scrutiny board to give communities a credible forum to hold the force to account in its delivery of the Race Action Plan.
Reflecting on an extremely busy six months, Chief Constable John Campbell said: “These wide-ranging statistics provide a glimpse of the complexity of modern policing and the variety of work undertaken by Thames Valley Police every single day.
“In light of all these numbers, the most important thing to remember is that each of these statistics has a story behind them; a family reunited with a loved one; an event that was able to take place safely and without disruption; or a person who called for our help in their time of need.
“I’m proud of our dedicated officers, staff and volunteers who work hard day-in, day-out, to keep our communities safe.”