During the spring 'lockdown' crime levels dropped by an estimated 25 per cent - but this has returned to normal levels, councillors have been told.

In a written report, presented to a meeting of the community safety and waste management cabinet panel yesterday (November 18), Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd said there had been a 25 per cent fall in crime between the start of ‘lockdown’ and the middle of April.

Since then, it was reported, that crime levels had returned to ‘normal levels’.

But as a result of the initial reduction, he said ‘year to date’ levels of crime were 14.8 per cent lower than last year.

But he also pointed to the additional pressures on the constabulary, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The PCC report read: "This has brought added pressure as the enhanced Covid response, including enforcing new regulations, adapting to new working environments, and regular use of PPE, is being delivered in additional to dealing with demand from crime."

He also reported that the ‘biggest negative impact’ of Covid with regard to policing had been the ‘closure’ of the courts and the impact on waiting times.

The report also read: "The subsequent impact on victims and witnesses, as well as the prospect of being able to conduct effective trials in some cases over two years after events took place, is a top priority for the PCC and OPCC."