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Crime in West Mercia up by 14 per cent

By James Pugh | Mid Wales | Crime | Published:

Crime in the police force area covering Shropshire has increased by 14 per cent, new figures have revealed.

In West Mercia, house burglaries have gone up by 42 per cent, robberies have increased by 25 per cent and violence by 19 per cent in 12 months.

Meanwhile, in Dyfed Powys, crime rose by three per cent between the period, June 2016 and June this year.

House burglaries are up 14 per cent, robberies 67 per cent and violence 18 per cent.

The number of crimes recorded annually in England and Wales has passed the five million mark for the first time in 10 years, rising by 13 per cent, figures show.

The Office for National Statistics said crimes in the 12 months to June were up from 4.6 million the previous year.

It said crime categorised as "violent" rose by 19 per cent nationally, with rises in offences including stalking and harassment.

Meanwhile, the Crime Survey for England and Wales, based on people's experiences, suggests there were 10.8 million offences.

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The survey, published on the same day as the official crime statistics, includes crimes that people do not report to police. When comparing like-for-like crimes, the survey reported a nine per cent reduction compared with the previous year.

John Flatley, from the ONS, said: "While improvements made by police forces in recording crime are still a factor in the increase, we judge that there have been genuine increases in crime – particularly in some of the low incidence but more harmful categories."

But he said police figures alone cannot provide "a good measure of all crime in society".

"The recent increases in recorded crime need to be seen in the context of the overall decline in crime indicated by the Crime Survey for England and Wales," he said.

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The 19 per cent increase in "violence against the person" offences dealt with by police was "driven largely" by increases in the sub-categories of "violence without injury" and "stalking and harassment" and "violence with injury", the ONS said.

The Crime Survey is generally considered a good measure of crime experienced by individuals because it is not affected by changes to how crime is recorded.

It also includes crimes that have historically been under-reported to the police.

However, it has some limitations. It does not cover crimes against businesses or people living in communal residences like care homes, prisons or student accommodation. It is also excludes crimes where there is no victim to interview, for example murders and drug offences.

Increase in reports to police sees more victims getting help, says chief

West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said the latest figures illustrate crime recording is increasing.

Mr Campion has welcomed that victims are recording crimes more than ever and said crime figures in the region are in line with the national average.

It comes as figures show crime across the Midlands continues to rise at the fastest pace in a decade.

In the West Midlands and West Mercia force areas crime increased by 14 per cent, while it increased by 13 per cent in Staffordshire.

And there were significant increases in house burglaries, robberies, thefts, and car crimes, which in some cases had risen by more than 40 per cent in the Midlands.

Meanwhile, in Dyfed Powys, crime rose by three per cent between the period June 2016 and June this year.

Mr Campion said: “These figures provide a snapshot in time, showing that West Mercia is broadly in line with the national average.

“It is widely accepted and expected that recorded crime is increasing, and this is actually a very positive thing – it means more victims are getting the help they need and the police are giving more incidents the attention they deserve.

“I welcome the fact that they are reporting incidents more than they ever have before and I want our communities to have confidence in their police service,” Mr Campion added.

“I will continue to hold the chief constable to account, to ensure our communities are safe and feel safe.”

Nationally, recorded crime is up 13 per cent with 5.2 million incidents in the 12 month period, from June last year to June this year.

The rise in the statistics is the largest annual rise in a decade and continues a recent trend of crime increases, said the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

West Midlands Labour Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: “The rise in crime in the West Midlands and across the country is a major concern.

“These figures are further evidence the government needs to change course on police funding.

“Officers at the force work around the clock to prevent and catch those who decide to commit crimes and they are facing ever greater demands from an increasing threat of terror, levels of cyber-crime and a rise in the number of reported sex offences.”

James Pugh

By James Pugh
@JamesP_Star

Chief reporter at the Shropshire Star covering north Shropshire based at the head office in Ketley.

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