Lincolnshire Police: ‘No link between lights switch-off and rise in crime levels’

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Lincolnshire Police has released its initial findings into the effect the introduction of part-night street lighting has had on the county’s crime levels.

The force’s report says that there is no evidence to suggest the Lincolnshire County Council (LCC) initiative has caused an increase in overnight crime.

The report has compared crime levels before the council introduced part-night lighting to now that 42,000 street lights have been switched off between midnight and 6am.

Assistant Chief Constable Shaun West said: “Our findings so far are that there has been a slight increase in these overnight crimes. This is not surprising as we are experiencing more calls than ever before and overall crime in Lincolnshire has increased, as it has nationally. Crime is up by four per cent in our county and the national average stands at an 11 per cent rise.

“At present we believe there is no link between the introduction of part-night lighting and levels of crime.”

Marc Jones, police and crime commissioner for Lincolnshire, said: “I welcome the Chief Constable’s decision to commission this report and his commitment to a continuous review of that intelligence. It is vital that people both are and feel safe and we will continue our efforts to ensure both.”

n Last week, we asked readers to take part in our survey about the street lighting programme. Of 186 participants, 82.3 per cent said they disagree with street lights in residential areas being switched off at night, while 75.3 per cent said they disagreed with lights in town centres and on out-of-town roads being switched off.

Meanwhile, 78.5 per cent called for the part-night street lighting programme to be scrapped altogether.

The Journal’s survey coincided with the public consultation launched by LCC on its controversial ‘street light transformation programme’ which aims to save £1.7m per year from its £5m annual street lighting budget. As a result of the changes, around 42,000 street lights, mainly in residential areas, are now switched off between midnight and 6am.

The council is reviewing the impact on: the environment; road collisions; crime rates; fears about safety and crime; emergency services; health and public health services; and the impact on businesses and the night-time economy.

To complete the survey, visit www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/streetlighting