The number of youth crime and mental health-related incidents being attended by police increased substantially last year.
Officers dealt with 1,162 recorded mental health incidents, an increase of 17% and an average of three incidents per day, according to the Force's newly-published annual report for 2021.
Juvenile crime increased by 36% last year and “remains a concern” for the force.
Overall, there were 3,082 recorded crimes last year – a fall of 12% on the pre-pandemic 2019. This included 311 vehicle-related crimes, 109 bicycle thefts, 127 burglaries and 630 incidents of malicious damage.
The latter was the only type of crime to increase last year, rising by 16% on 2020.
Referring to the rise in incidents where mental health was a factor, Jersey Police Authority chair Dr Jason Lane said: “Like other forces, Jersey Police are increasingly spending time dealing with mental health related incidents.
Pictured: Police Chief Robin Smith: "I’m very pleased with the end of year performance statistics and I’m enormously grateful to the team for all their hard work".
“We know a joined-up approach is key when responding to those with mental health needs and requires a range of partners to work seamlessly together to provide assessment, wrap around support and care.
“2021 has seen us work even closer with colleagues in other support services and we’ll build on this approach throughout 2022.”
The rise in mental health incidents was a reason given for the recent States decision to allow more police officers to carry Tasers.
Talking about juvenile crime, Chief Officer Robin Smith said: “A focus on this will be part of joint multi-agency activity for 2022, seeking to divert young people from crime, alongside a focus on reducing juvenile missing person reports.
“Police are dedicated to supporting and safeguarding these young people, particularly those being reported missing from Government care settings.”
In 2019 there were 621 young people recorded as ‘missing’. That rose to 762 in 2020 and 824 last year. 93 young islanders going missing repeatedly accounted for that figure in 2021, which cost the force more than £1m.
45% of all missing young people last year were from care homes.
When it comes to repeat crimes, ten individuals alone last year – eight of them aged under 18 - accounted for 287 crimes. Repeat offenders accounted for 35% of all recorded crime and 28% of offenders committed crimes more than once.
There were 164 repeat offenders and 273 repeat victims in 2021. That equated to almost a fifth of all victims.
Pictured: The entire States of Jersey Police was awarded a Force Commendation in December for their work during the pandemic.
Although stressing that crime in Jersey remains low and there was “significant investment in staff and equipment in 2021, Dr Lane added: “The cost of the pandemic will continue to affect departmental budgets for several years to come and already we are seeing increasing pressure from government to assist with the rebalancing of government finances by maximising efficiencies.
“While this is a concern for many, the JPA will not approve of efficiencies that could pose a detrimental impact to policing our island.”
“Efficiencies” in the current Government Plan include a budget reduction for the police of more than £800,000, with the force having to save £377,000 a year on an ongoing basis from the staff budget and £459,000 from non-staff budgets.
In 2021, it underspent by £100,000 on a £25.8m budget.
Last year, the police reintroduced a Community Policing Team as well as its Drugs Squad. Ten new officers were sworn in and another ten recruits joined the force last month.
There was a 23% fall in the number of incidents of anti-social behaviour last year. The police say this may have been down to a “special operations” in town, which “targeted a core group of identified individuals known to cause regular disruptions”.
However, the police did record the highest levels of repeat involvement in anti-social behaviour incidents in 2021, with the ‘Top 10’ individual offenders being involved in one in ten of all incidents of this kind.
There was an increase in recorded sexual offences in 2021 when compared to 2020 (167 versus 134; up 25%), but a reduction on the three-year average of 2018-20 (178; down 6%).
The main areas of increase last year were indecent exposure (15 offences; increase of ten on 2020) and rape (41; increase of ten on 2020).
The sexual offence detection rate for 2021 is 20% with 39 investigations ongoing. This is slightly lower than the 22% for 2020 but is a reduction on the three-year average of 27%.
There were 431 domestic crimes in 2021. Last month, the States Assembly approved Jersey’s first Domestic Abuse Law, which outlaws the controlling and coercive behaviour that often underpins this type of abuse.
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