From drug gangs to serial killers, BBC One’s hit drama, Happy Valley, has put West Yorkshire’s Calderdale firmly on the map – but how bad is crime in this northern rural community?
With a top secret ending set to be revealed on Sunday (5 February) night, fans of the award-winning drama will finally find out what fate lies in store for its crime-fighting heroine, Catherine Cawood (played by Sarah Lancashire).
We have analysed official crime and health figures published by the government and Office for National Statistics (ONS) to reveal how much crime Calderdale and West Yorkshire really faces.
How bad is crime in Calderdale?
Across 311 Police Community Safety Partnership areas in England and Wales in the 12 months to September 2022, Calderdale ranked 30th in having the highest total recorded crime rate, according to Home Office data. Calderdale’s crime rate stands at 124.3 per 1,000 people, 1.4 times greater than the England average of 91.9.
There were 26,300 crimes recorded across the Calderdale area over the course of the year, including 11,700 violence against the person offences, 890 sexual offences, 750 drug offences and 230 cases of weapon possession.
How many drug seizures are there in Calderdale?
West Yorkshire Police, which covers the Calderdale area, is also seizing more drugs than the national average. Separate figures published by the Home Office show West Yorkshire Police had a drug seizure rate of 3,558 per million people in the 12 months to March 2021, 9% greater than the national average of 3,255 seizures per million people. Drug seizure rates in West Yorkshire have been above the England average since 2018. The Home Office does not publish drug seizure data at a Police Community Safety Partnership level.
Figures also show what type of drugs officers at West Yorkshire Police are dealing with the most. Class B drugs, such as cannabis, ketamine and mephedrone (non-injection) were the most common type of drug seized by the local force.
How many drug-related deaths are recorded in Calderdale?
Drug deaths in the community have worsened in recent years, according to data published by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities. During the period 2018 to 2020, 46 deaths were recorded – a 28% increase on the previous period (2017 to 2019) when 36 deaths were recorded. The latest data shows Calderdale had a drug misuse death rate of 7.6 per 100,000 people, ranking 47th out of the 231 local districts in England. In comparison, the death rate England-wide was five per 100,000 people.
Regionally, Yorkshire and the Humber had a drug death rate of 6.7 per 100,000 people, also greater than the national average. Yorkshire and the Humber had the third highest drug death rate in England, falling behind the North East which had a rate of 9.9 and the North West with a rate of 7.1.
The final ever episode of Happy Valley will air on BBC One at 9pm on Sunday 5 February.