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Thursday, 25 October, 2001, 18:33 GMT 19:33 UK
South Wales tops crime-busting survey
South Wales Police graphic
The prime minister has personally congratulated senior officers from South Wales Police following a report which shows the force has achieved major reductions in crime.

Chief Constable Tony Burden was joined by 13 officers from South Wales and Northumbria forces for the Downing Street visit, as one of only two UK forces to receive the invitation from Tony Blair.

Tony Burden, Chief Constable, South Wales Police
Tony Burden: Invitation to Number 10
The visit coincides with the publication on Thursday of the British Crime Survey for 2000, which showed an overall 12% drop in crime figures, the biggest single fall ever recorded in a 12-month period for England and Wales.

Separate Home Office figures for the year 2000 showed that over a five-year period, crime in south Wales had fallen by 35.6%, the second largest recorded reduction in England and Wales.

Commenting on the figures, Mr Blair said: "It is absolutely no consolation to people who get burgled or robbed to know that crime statistics have come down...but on the other hand, it is useful and good for people to know the trend."

The Home Office figures revealed a 20% reduction in house burglaries and a 20% drop in thefts of and from cars.

The prime minister was expected to ask Mr Burden how South Wales Police has achieved its high performance figures during the last few years.

In the mid 1990s, there were 15,000 recorded crimes in the Vale. This year it was less than 10,000

John Smith, MP Vale of Glamorgan

Mr Burden was joined at Number 10 by Superintendent Colin Jones, from the Vale of Glamorgan district and Constable Wayne Locke, also from the Vale of Glamorgan.

Among the other representatives were Assistant Divisional Commandant Madeline Clement, from Bridgend, Sergeant Andrew Hughes, from Swansea, and Inspector Keith Bowman, from Merthyr Tydfil.

Vale of Glamorgan MP John Smith praised the work of Colin Jones after meeting the senior officer and Pc Locke at the House of Commons on Wednesday night.

'Community officers'

"This is excellent news of the Vale of Glamorgan," said Mr Smith.

"In the mid 1990s, there were 15,000 recorded crimes in the Vale of Glamorgan. This year there were less than 10,000.

"I believe there are several reasons why Supt Jones has been so successful. He and a high proportion of his officers live in the community.

"They have worked closely with schools and community groups and as a result, we now have the largest number of neighbourhood watch groups in Wales."

The results of the British Crime Survey - published on Thursday - showed that burglaries in the UK fell by 17% and an 11% fall in vehicle thefts.

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BBC Wales's Rhodri Lewis
"The chief constable was joined at No 10 by other officers from South Wales Police"
See also:

18 Jul 00 | Wales
'Most violent' towns in Wales
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