How dangerous is YOUR area? England and Wales' crime capitals revealed as Cleveland tops the list

A HORRIFIC Stanley knife attack over a row about a spilled pint is just one of the offences recorded by Cleveland Police last year.

The force policed the "crime capital of England" in 2020, where the highest level of crimes per 1,000 population were reported.

Cleveland Police in the north east recorded 113.4 crimes per 1,000 people according to ONS figures published this week (year ending December 2020).

Eight out of the ten forces with the highest levels are in the north of England, with Kent and the West Midlands being the exceptions.

The police force with the fewest reported crimes was North Yorkshire at just 49.9.

As the UK justice system is about to get a major makeover with the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, we look at which parts of Britain experience different types of crime the most.

Young mum stabbed to death

Some forces saw higher rates of particular types of crime but in terms of where you're most likely to be the victim of one, Cleveland has the worst rate.

The force, which covers areas including Middlesbrough, Hartlepool, and Stockton-on-Tees, clocked 93.6 victim-based crimes per 1,000 people.

Victim-based crime covers a range of offences including violent crimes, burglary, and sexual offences.

But it doesn't include crimes against society like drug possession or public order offences.

On New Years Eve in 2019, mum-of-six Stacey Cooper was found stabbed to death in her home in Redcar.

Her alleged killer, Liam Murray, took his own life while on remand at HMP Durham in January 2020.

And James Hunter was lucky to live after he was attacked with a Stanley knife by Jacob McStravick in December 2019.

McStravick, who was just 17 at the time of the assault in Middlesbrough, missed Hunter's jugular vein by an inch in the row which erupted over a spilled pint.

He was given 11 years and eight months for the sickening crime.

Cops themselves were subjected to violence – Lisa Timney drunkenly attempted to stab an officer in the head and neck with a 12in kitchen knife after he went to her house to help her.

She was given two years and eight months for attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent during the attack on 10 July.

With 89.4 victim-based crimes per 1,000 people, West Yorkshire is the only force that recorded an even remotely comparable level to that of Cleveland's.

Tied up and tortured

Cleveland and West Yorkshire swap places at the top of the blacklist when it comes to violent crime.

West Yorkshire Police recorded 45.5 "violence against the person" offences.

These are crimes ranging from common assault up to more serious offences like GBH and murder.

In April last year, cops found 61-year-old Saleem Butt dead in his home in Batley, West Yorks.

His hands were tied behind his back with a rope that was knotted around his neck, and he'd suffered head traumas.

Saleem had been murdered by burglars Craig Stanton and Alexander Mackay who broke into his home for financial gain.

At trial the prosecution suggested the killers, who were high on crack cocaine during the attack, may tortured Saleem to make him reveal where valuables were hidden, or to give up his bank cards' PIN numbers.

Stanton and Mackay were jailed for life in December.

In December 2019, Andrew Wrigglesworth tried to kill his sweet factory colleagues after a Christmas party punch-up in Cleckheaton, West Yorks.

After being hit in the face, Wrigglesworth got in his car and used it to plough into a group of six men – one of whom suffered a life-changing brain injury and multiple fractures to his skull and neck.

He fled the scene but cops found his smashed up Audi A4 at his home in Batley.

Wrigglesworth was given 30 years for six counts of attempted murder, as well as being disqualified from driving for life.

Despite shocking single incidents in London, like armed mass brawls, the Metropolitan Police actually had the eighth lowest level of violent crimes recorded of all the forces in England and Wales with 24.6 per 1,000 people.

North Yorkshire had the lowest with 19.6, while Surrey came a close second best with 20.5.

Triple sex attack

In terms of sex crimes, West Yorkshire Police's rate is second highest behind Northamptonshire.

The East Midlands constabulary had twice the amount of sex crimes as Hertfordshire – the constabulary with the lowest level (1.7).

In December 2019, 21-year old and Trofim Midoni and Valeriu Frunza, 24, kidnapped, raped and sexually three separate women.

They picked up their vulnerable victims in Northampton town centre before driving them to remote locations – two were sexually assaulted and abandoned while the third was beaten and raped.

Midoni and Frunza were sentenced to a total of 35 years between them.

“They systematically put all three women through the most horrific ordeal that will live with them for the rest of their lives,” said Detective Inspector Liz Basham of Northamptonshire Police’s CID team.

Sex crimes have remained a significant issue this year in West Yorkshire, the areas with the second highest rate, with cops arresting a 14-year-old boy in connection with a string of attacks across Leeds.

Five women were assaulted in separate attacks across Leeds in February.

North Wales and Northamptonshire reported similarly high levels of sex crimes in 2019/2020.

Shockingly, sex crimes increased as much as 22 per cent in some parts of Britain in 2020 compared to 2019.

Hertfordshire had the lowest rate of sexual offences England and Wales, logging just 1.7 sex offences per 1,000 people.

Last April, serving Hertfordshire Police Sergeant Michael Grigg was charged with penetrative sexual activity with a child – a female police cadet under the age of 16.

He was sentenced to six-and-a-half-years imprisonment and was sacked from the force, with Chief Constable Charlie Hall blasting Grigg as a "disgrace to his colleagues and the profession".

Cocaine and cash

In terms of drug offences, Merseyside had the highest crime rate (8.9).

To fight the problem, a specialist unit from Merseyside Police and the National Crime Agency was setup this year specifically to target organised crime gangs bringing drugs and guns into the region.

One local copper even said gangs were running a "click and collect" drug delivery service last year, with delers dressed as Deliveroo drivers to keep selling during the pandemic.

In December 2020, Merseyside Police arrested 12 people and recovered drugs, cash and weapons during an operation to disrupt County Lines dealing.

Those arrested included two teenage boys after a canister of CS gas was found at Liverpool Lime Street.

And a 52-year-old woman was arrested in Shropshire on suspicion of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs after suspected cocaine and heroin was recovered.

Last week Merseyside Police charged a man with offences of Class A and B supply along with heroin importation.

The charges were part of the force's response to Operation Venetic, the national investigation into gangs' use of an encrypted phone network called EncroChat.

By contrast, Staffordshire had the lowest level of reported drug crimes with just 1.5.

Multi-million-pound heists

When it comes to theft, London's Metropolitan Police recorded the highest level.

The force logged a whopping 38.5 thefts per 1,000 people – nearly quadruple that of Devon and Cornwall (10.9).

In November 2020, Met Police officers received an allegation that £1million worth of jewellery had been stolen from the home of Jordan’s Princess Firyal in Belgravia, central London.

A 65-year-old cleaner was arrested on suspicion of stealing the items, which included a Cartier broach, in February this year.

And a "Mission Impossible" crew of allegedly "professional thieves" were accused of carrying out a string of heists in the capital during December 2019.

A court heard the group swiped £26million during a 13-day crime blitz which targeted the homes of wealthy individuals including Frank Lampard and F1 heiress Tamara Ecclestone.

With the seventh highest level of recorded thefts of any force in England and Wales, Bedfordshire has a relatively large number of thefts compared to some of its other crime rates.

Locals in Luton warned about some burglars even disguising themselves with hi-viz jackets ahead of break-ins earlier this year.

Devon and Cornwall had the lowest level of thefts at just 10.9.

Responding to the new figures showing Cleveland Police had the highest level of recorded crime, a spokesperson for the force told The Sun: "With high levels of deprivation, unemployment and health related issues such as drug and alcohol dependency and other problematic socio-demographic and economic factors, the challenges faced by Cleveland Police are more in keeping with those faced by the larger metropolitan forces.

"Despite these huge issues, overall crime in Cleveland has reduced by seven per cent.

"Although there has been an increase in violent offences, we can attribute some of this to significant rise in recording crimes of stalking and harassment.

"Cleveland Police have provided officers with specialist training in appropriately identifying these offences, safeguarding victims and ensuring offenders are dealt with robustly.

"The misuse of drugs and associated offences are a heavy burden on our communities and Cleveland Police are determined to tackle this criminality and make our streets safer."

The spokesperson added: "The whole team at Cleveland Police are working hard to provide protect the vulnerable and prevent and detect crime."



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