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Police make charges in 16% of violent crime allegations in Elmbridge
Violent crimes in the borough are going largely unpunished, with just 16 per cent of allegations in the past five years resulting in a charge or summons.
Between April 2008 and April 2013, 5,930 violent crimes were recorded in Elmbridge, with arrests in 39.98 per cent of cases.
Charges or summons have only been brought against 988 cases, but others may have received a caution, which Surrey Police regard as a positive outcome.
In the past year that has improved to arrests in 44 per cent of cases, with charges in 20 per cent.
Crimes defined as violent by Surrey Police include murder, assault with intent to cause serious harm, assault with injury, possession of firearms with intent and racially or religiously aggravated assault.
Of the 1,009 violent crimes recorded in the past five years, 17 per cent were in the Weybridge safer neighbourhood area, according to a freedom of information request.
The number of violent crimes there peaked in 2010/11, with 237, an average of one crime every 1.54 days, before dropping to 155 in 2012/13.
West Molesey was second on the list, with 647 recorded violent crimes in the five year period.
Despite an average of 1,186 violent crimes in Elmbridge each year, there have only been 15 violent crimes involving a firearm and 23 involving a knife or sharp instrument in the past five years.
Violent crimes are falling across the borough, with 32.13 per cent fewer between April 2012 and April 2013 than in the same period in 2009/10.
Each safer neighbourhood area saw a drop in crimes linked with violence in the 2012/13 period, apart from Cobham and Oxshott, where there was a 28.71 per cent increase.
David Hollingsworth, Elmbridge Neighbourhood Inspector, said: “Violent crime is down by 43 per cent in the past six years. Since 2007 we have seen quite a large fall in violent crime across the borough. It will go up from time to time and from area to area but predominantly speaking, it is down to where we were six years ago.
“Violent crime factors in to three areas; public place violent crime, which is people who are out socialising, domestic abuse and then drink related.
“A lot of time when people have had time to think about it, they sometimes withdraw them [allegations of violent crime] or it is just that people don’t want to make statements or get involved. That does impact on the number of arrests and charges.
“All violent crime is investigated and where we have the evidence to arrest and charge, we do it. It is only when we don’t have that or things are withdrawn.”
Elmbridge has a lower rate of violent crime than Guildford, Redhill and Woking, but Inspector Hollingsworth said levels were slightly higher than smaller boroughs such as Waverley and Mole Valley.
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