PSNI 'needs to improve detection rates' says Policing Board chairman

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The PSNI needs to improve its crime detection rates, according to the chairman of the Policing Board.

Brian Rea said the police's annual crime statistics "show some improvement in a number of areas, but in others the PSNI have not met targets set".

Mr Rea said he was pleased the level of overall crime was at its lowest, with fewer incidents of anti-social behaviour and burglaries.

He said improved detection rates would "contribute to community confidence".

Mr Rea said the board, which holds the PSNI to account, had "recently expressed major concern around the police response to punishment attacks and the need to improve clearance rates".

According to PSNI figures published on Thursday, 2011/12 saw the lowest level of crime in Northern Ireland for 14 years and the lowest level of anti-social behaviour in six years.

Crime across Northern Ireland fell by 1.6%, from 105,040 offences in 2010/11 to 103,389 offences in 2011/12.

Anti-social behaviour dropped by 12,763 incidents in the last year, the lowest level recorded by the PSNI since this method of recording was introduced across the UK in 2006/7.

Road deaths were at their lowest level since 1931, and burglary also fell to its lowest levels since 1998/99.

Chief Constable Matt Baggott said: "I am pleased to report that crime is at its lowest level in 14 years, which is encouraging news.

"This should be seen alongside increasing levels of confidence in policing.

"Together these show that policing, with increasing support, is having an impact on a more positive future."

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