OFFICIALS have hailed an eight per cent drop in crime across Hambleton and Richmondshire in the past year as testament to working in partnership to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour. The figures, released this week, also show a reduction of 19 per cent in burglaries and a fall of almost 28 per cent in vehicle theft.

Offences of criminal damage and violence were also down on the previous 12 months.

The Hambleton and the Richmondshire Community Safety Partnerships - which now work as one organisation - cover the same area as North Yorkshire Police’s safer neighbourhood command.

Both partnerships have worked with their local police teams to achieve the low crime levels across both districts - and prove the success of the new arrangements for the partnership and North Yorkshire Police.

Carl Doonan, chairman of the Hambleton and Richmondshire anti-social behaviour group, said: "These results reflect the hard work put in by partner agencies and the community.

"Projects have included supporting the volunteer watch schemes; community ‘Safer Sessions’ in local supermarkets, providing advice and crime prevention materials to the general public; crime and anti-social behaviour workshops in secondary schools, and alcohol respect campaigns in market towns to reduce the underage purchase of alcohol.

"We want to improve even more this year and will be looking at rural crime and ways to protect our borders.

Amanda Oliver, police area commander for Hambleton and Richmondshire, said: "I am delighted that the partnership has performed so effectively in working together to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour across the area. "Our challenge now is to build on these results in the coming year.

"We realise this will not be easy but we are already working together on further crime reduction initiatives. "Rural crime continues to be our biggest challenge across such a large area and requires the support of all our communities to help us to be effective. "Our communities should feel reassured that the partners will continue to work together to build on these successes over the coming months.

"We want people to feel confident that our area continues to be one of the safest places to live and work in England."