Northern Ireland

Close to 80 strangulation arrests since legislation introduced nearly a year ago

Drop in overall recorded crime numbers, according to PSNI, but warning funding cuts may impact future ability to keep figures down

The family of Ivy Mae Ross have said they are ‘absolutely devastated’
Crime down by more than 6% over the year to the end of March (Peter Byrne/PA)

Close to 80 arrests for non-fatal strangulation have been made since legislation making it an offence was introduced last year, latest figures reveal.

The new offence is one of a number recently introduced targeting violence, abuse and intimidation, particularly of women.

Under recently enacted domestic abuse legislation, 73 people were arrested over the year to the end of the March, the PSNI report. Fifteen people a month were arrested on suspicion of stalking, while 77 people were suspected of non-fatal strangulation.

Multiple studies show non-fatal strangulation is major red flag indicating future violent behaviour, up to and including murder.

“Although domestic abuse crimes have reduced, incident reporting remains high which shows a willingness from victims to engage with us earlier so safeguarding measures can be taken before the behaviour escalates,” Deputy Chief Constable Chris Todd said following the publication of the latest crime statistics.

Temporary deputy chief constable Chris Todd has confirmed a publication date for the Operation Kenova report
Deputy Chief Constable Chris Todd (Liam McBurney/PA)

The PSNI will “continue to proactively track reports of violence, abuse and intimidation against women and girls and targeting neighbourhood policing resources to locations where they have reported feeling unsafe”, DCC Todd added.

Overall, at just over 104,000, there were 7,067 fewer crimes recorded compared to the previous 12 months, a 6.3% drop.

Anti-social behaviour is at a record low with 45,358 anti-social behaviour incidents in Northern Ireland, a decrease of 1,943 (or 4.1%) when compared with the previous 12 months, the PSNI said.

The Holylands area has become infamous for anti-social behaviour caused by drink-fuelled students descending on the area
The PSNI said recorded anti-social behaviour has dropped significantly

But the senior police officer warned of an “ability to repeat such a strong performance is going to be at risk if we are unable to find a more effective and sustainable way to fund policing in Northern Ireland. We are now well into a new financial year and are still without a budget allocation”.

DCC Todd added: “As the Chief Constable has made very clear to the Policing Board and others, our ability to support victims and investigate crime is being stretched to breaking point, and the burden is being felt by our officers and staff. "

The latest statistics confirm the number of murders in the north are at an all recent history low, with 10 recorded over the 12 months to the end of March.