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Violence soars as crime rate up - but West Mercia Police describes rise as 'positive’

By Mark Andrews | Telford | Crime | Published:

Violent crime has risen by almost a fifth in the West Mercia Police area - and the possession of weapons is up by 28 per cent.

But West Mercia Police today insisted that the dramatic increase in offences is "positive".

Official statistics reveal that overall recorded crime in the West Mercia area is up by 11 per cent.

In the 12 months up until the end of March, there were a total of 80,936 offences were committed across the force area, although the figures do not include fraud which is recorded separately.

Of these, 26,762 crimes were of a violent nature, a rise of 17 per cent. The number of robberies in the area was up by a fifth, while crimes of possessing weapons rocketed by 28 per cent.

The West Mercia area also saw 14 murders, including Belen Tripp who was killed by her husband Peter at their home in Sixth Avenue, Ketley Bank, Telford, and Michael Warham who was allegedly murdered in the Meole Brace area of Shrewsbury last summer.

The biggest increase came in public order offences, which shot up by 38 per cent, and accounted for 4,180 crimes.

But on the positive side, drugs offences were down by 12 per cent.

West Mercia Chief Superintendent Charles Hill insisted the figures weren't all bad news, saying: "While these figures may look concerning on first view, an increase in crime recorded is a positive outcome, particularly in areas that we know crime has, typically, been under reported. This reflects an increase in public confidence in police for reporting crimes."

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The increase in total crime in our region is broadly in line with the national trend. England and Wales also saw an overall rise in crime of 11 per cent, with violent offences up by 18 per cent and robberies up by 16 per cent. Drugs offences were down eight per cent nationally.

The neighbouring West Midlands force also saw an 11 per cent increase in crime, although the rise in violent offences was not quite so marked, at 13 per cent.

Dyfed-Powys saw a smaller increase in crime, at just nine per cent overall, although violent crime increased by almost a quarter. A total of 23,268 crimes were committed in the force area, with 7,637 of them falling into the violent category. The biggest rise was in violence without injury, which saw a 36 per cent increase.

Meanwhile, separate figures for the Crime Survey of England and Wales said a total of 11 million offences took place – compared to 4.3 million for the recorded crime figures.

The survey asks victims about experiences of a range of crimes and does not include the same types as those measured by police recorded figures.

Mark Andrews

By Mark Andrews
@MAndrews_Star

Senior news writer for the Shropshire Star specialising in in-depth features and commentary, investigative reporting and political matters.

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