THE chief constable today praised his officers and staff for helping drive down crime across Hampshire and reducing the number of burglaries to an all time low.

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics revealed how break-ins at homes have dropped by 22 per cent, with 4,214 burglaries being investigated by police between September 2011 and 2012.

Numbers of robberies have also fallen by 27 per cent, with 772 such crimes reported while there were 11,980 cases of violence causing injury to a person, a drop of 15 per cent in 12 months.

The statistics revealed how 1,769 sexual offences were reported, there were 4,309 cases of fraud and forgery and 20,220 cases of criminal damage.

Drugs offences however showed a seven per cent rise with 6,669 incidents – something Hampshire police say is as a result of proactive work including the launch of the Daily Echo backed Operation Fortress to tackle drug related violence in Southampton.

Mr Marshall said: “My aim since joining the constabulary in 2008 has always been to protect the people we serve from those who would cause them harm by making our two counties a hostile environment for criminals. I am leaving content in the knowledge that this legacy is continuing.

“The 12 per cent reduction in total crime across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight is testament to the tireless dedication, commitment, hard work and ‘one team’ approach of officers and staff.”