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Revealed: Weapon-related crime in Stockport falls by a fifth as police and council battle gangs together

Exclusive by Matt Davies

Weapon crime in Stockport has fallen by almost a fifth in just one year according to Greater Manchester Police figures obtained by MM.  

In 2011, there were 901 recorded crimes involving weapons, but this figure dropped to 730 in 2012, a drop of 19% overall across the Stockport region.

Superintendent Nick Philips from Greater Manchester Police’s Stockport Division highlighted the positives surrounding the decrease in total crimes by 171 during 2012.

“This is an indicator that the work of the division to reduce violent crime is working,” he explained.

“Some of the work of our officers has included targeting organised crime groups which has so far had some significant results.

“As a division we will continue to use a range of resources and tactics to reduce serious crime and its consequences on our community.

“This includes executing warrants, the arrest of key offenders, recovering assets including cash under the Proceeds of Crime Act and the recovery of stolen goods.”

The statistics presented come from a Freedom of Information request into crimes involving various types of weapons across Stockport, with 2,511 recorded between 2010 and 2012.

Weapon-related crimes in three of the four police divisions covering the town are decreasing, with only Stockport Central showing a 3.7% increase.

Stockport North has seen a 31% decrease in the period between January 2010 and December 2012 while Stockport East has seen a 26% decrease in the same period.

Stockport West meanwhile saw an 18% increase in total weapon crime between 2010 and 2011 but a 21% drop in 2012.

Liberal Democrat Sue Derbyshire, the leader of Stockport Council, praised the efforts of all involved in working towards making the town a safer place.

“Obviously any reduction in crime in Stockport is welcome and I understand we are on track for our ninth year of reduction in all crime,” she said.

“Knife crime and other crimes of violence can have a terrible impact on victims so a reduction in these types of crimes is especially welcome.

“There is a very close partnership working in Stockport between the police and the council and other partners and I think this does illustrate where effective working together can reduce serious crime which improves the quality of life for all residents.”

In the past two years, Stockport has seen a 12.7% drop in weapon based assaults which have led to injury, while incidents involving glass have fallen by 52%.

Perhaps most staggering are the decreases in the number of people caught with offensive weapons, especially knives.

Over the past year, Stockport witnessed a 60% drop in people caught with weapons, while there has been an 81% decrease in those caught with knives in public places.

The Safer Stockport Partnership has brought together many public and voluntary organizations across Stockport, all with the common goal of reducing crime in the area.

In 2012, the Partnership marked an eight year of crime reduction, and the latest figures suggest 2013 could follow suit.

During that period, the Partnership estimates that there have been 12,000 fewer victims of crime across Stockport.

Of the areas covered by the Stockport policing team, Stockport Central saw the fewest weapon crimes in the past two years, while Stockport East was the worst affected.

These figures are skewed by the differences in geographical areas that fall under each crime division.

There was a 50% reduction in using weapons in threats to kill during the last two years, while there was a 57% decrease in the last year of weapons being used during incidents of shoplifting.

The number of cases where weapons were involved in robberies of business and private property fell too – by 48%.

It is not just weapon crime which is being targeted by the GMP, and their partners, as Superintendent Philips explained.

“We are also continuing to work with our partners includingg the local authority to target those licensed premises that could be managed more efficiently,” he said.

“As part of our partnership, we work with organisations such as the Department for Work and Pensions, Trading Standards, housing associations, Probation Services and the Prison Service to share information and intelligence and where necessary carry out enforcement action.”

Superintendent Philips added feedback from residents in Stockport with regards to policing efforts were positive, as shown by a public review conducted by the GMP.

“In a recent survey of 1,600 residents 92% said that they had confidence in police in Stockport and 87% said that officers were doing an excellent job,” he explained.

“This is great news and shows that our community is recognising the work we are doing to reduce serious crime.”

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