Fewer 'threats to kill' offences recorded in Lancashire, latest figures show

Lancashire Constabulary recorded fewer 'threats to kill' offences last year than before the pandemic, new figures show – despite numbers increasing nationally.
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Death threats have become more common as part of a wider increase in online abuse – and new data shows that numbers have surged over the past few years.

However, new figures from the Home Office show the number of 'threats to kill' offences recorded by Lancashire Constabulary has dropped 57 per cent in the past few years, from 1,280 in the year to June 2019 to 549 over the same period to June 2022.

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It was a different story across England and Wales, where 51,308 such offences were recorded by police forces, up 49% from 34,398 before the pandemic.

Threatening to kill someone is an offence that can carry a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

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Diana Fawcett, chief executive of the charity Victim Support, said that while these figures may reflect an increase in the number of people coming forward, police must take threats seriously.

“Death threats are terrifying – especially because they are normally part of a bigger picture of abuse – like hate crime or domestic abuse," she said.

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"This huge rise in offences, coupled with a big drop in charging rates, suggests police are struggling to deal with the volume of this crime."

In Lancashire, 73 of these offences resulted in a charge or summons in the year to June – 13.3 per cent of all offences.

This was down from 13.6 per cent in the year to June 2019.

No suspect was identified in 2.7 per cent of cases, and 21.3 per cent of cases were dropped due to evidential difficulties, despite a suspect being identified and the victim supporting action.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Police recorded violence should be interpreted with caution as increases may reflect improvements made by police forces in identifying and recording offences, as well as an increase in victims reporting incidents.

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“We are injecting record funds into policing, giving police the powers they need to bear down on crime, and are on track to deliver on the manifesto commitment to recruit 20,000 additional police officers across England and Wales by March 2023,” they said.