West Mercia Police record nine per cent increase in crime
Crimes recorded by West Mercia Police increased by nine per cent last year, with a rise of 13 per cent for violent offences.
The figures, released by the Office for National Statistics, show increases in the number of recorded sexual offences, vehicle crimes, bike thefts, and weapon possession from the end of 2016 to the end of 2017.
However, the Crime Survey of England and Wales (CSEW), released at the same time, states that most crimes had stayed at the same level as the previous year. The CSEW assesses people’s experiences of crime for the previous 12 months and is carried out using face to face interviews.
The CSEW said that eight in 10 adults had not experienced any of the crimes included in the survey in the past year.
West Mercia Police, which cover Shropshire, recorded a total 85,790 crimes in the year ending 2017, while Dyfed-Powys Police recorded a total of 25,114. The figures exclude fraud offences.
West Mercia Police figures:
- Violence against the person – 13 per cent increase
- Violence with injury – four per cent increase
- Robbery – three per cent decrease
- Burglary – one per cent increase
- Sexual offences – 21 per cent increase
- Vehicle offences – 11 per cent increase
- Bicycle theft – 13 per cent increase
- Drug offences – seven per cent decrease
- Possession of weapons – eight per cent increase
Dyfed Powys Police figures:
- Violence against the person – 21 per cent increase
- Violence with injury – two per cent decrease
- Robbery – no change
- Burglary – 15 per cent decrease
- Sexual offences - one per cent increase
- Vehicle offences – five per cent increase
- Bicycle theft – 22 per cent increase
- Drug offences – 19 per cent decrease
- Possession of weapons – eight per cent decrease
In West Mercia there were 28,758 offences of violence against a person recorded in the 12 months – although the region’s Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said the change was largely due to a change in the categorisation of the offence, which now includes stalking and death by dangerous driving.
There were 16 recorded murders in West Mercia and 10,518 instances of offences of violence with injury.
There was a large rise in the number of recorded sexual offences in West Mercia, with a 21 per cent increase. There were a total of 3,590 offences recorded.
The ONS also reported 6,412 offences of stalking or harassment being recorded in the force area.
West Mercia also saw 684 possession of a weapon offences from December 2016 to December 2017.
There were falls in the number of recorded offences for drugs, down by seven per cent, robbery, down by three per cent, and theft from a person, which was down by one per cent.
The statistics also include a caveat that “figures for Warwickshire and West Mercia from October to December 2017 may include crimes that took place in other police force areas due to an issue with the recording of crime location on their new shared crime recording system”.
Commenting on the Crime Survey for England and Wales Alexa Bradley of the Office for National Statistics, said most people had not experienced any crime in the past year.
She said: “Today’s figures show that, for most types of offence, the picture of crime has been fairly stable, with levels much lower than the peak seen in the mid-1990s. Eight in ten adults had not experienced any of the crimes asked about in our survey in the latest year.
“However, we have seen an increase in the relatively rare, but “high-harm” violent offences such as homicide, knife crime and gun crime, a trend that has been emerging over the previous two years. We have also seen evidence that increases in some types of theft have continued, in particular vehicle-related theft and burglary.”
Crime commissioner Campion said that the increase was lower than that across the country.
He said: “Recorded crime levels in West Mercia are rising at a lower rate than the national average and there are notable successes, in areas such as drugs offences, robbery and burglary. The official figures show that actual crime is still decreasing.
“These figures show there is still much more to do, particularly around violent crime and sexual offences which remain key priorities. I am committed to delivering this for our communities.”