Violent crime soars across Staffordshire, new figures reveal
Violent crime has risen 15 per cent in a year across Staffordshire – with spikes in Cannock Chase and Stafford, shocking new figures have revealed.
The number of ‘violent’ incidents recorded across the force rose from 25,624 in 2016 to 29,352 last year.
In Stafford the rate increased 30 per cent from 2,181 in 2016 to 2,837 last year.
And in Cannock Chase the number of ‘violent incidents’ rose 22 per cent from 2,059 to 2,505.
South Staffordshire saw an increase of 13 per cent, up from 1,588 to 1,792.
The crimes include violence resulting in serious and minor injuries as well as ‘other violence’.
This can include threats to kill and harassment, and can be internet-based.
Matthew Ellis, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire, says he is focused on tackling violent crime in the county. Tonight he chairs a meeting of students, crime experts and victims to discuss the dangers of knife crime and how it can be combated.
MPs pledge to raise concerns over crime rates
Stafford MP Jeremy Lefroy said the figures, obtained following a Freedom of Information Act request, said: “Of course, it does concern me greatly, but it is happening all over the country.
“I’m sure it [violent crime] is not all physical attacks, some of it will be online and we need a breakdown of where they are happening; online or on the street.”
He added: “We have been pushing to allow the police and crime commissioner to raise the precept to retain and recruit more police officers.
“Every increase in crime needs to be taken seriously.
“We need to make it clear this is no time to reduce the resources to the police. There is no excuse to say we will take resources out of police. We can’t do that.
“We have to face reality that there has been an increase in crime and that the police must be equipped to tackle it.”
Stafford town centre councillor Christine Baron, who is on the Stafford Borough Crime Prevention panel, said that the figures were a ‘sad reflection on modern times’.
Amanda Milling, MP for Cannock Chase, said she will raise the figures with the Police and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire, Matthew Ellis.
She said: “Whilst it is good news that residential burglaries have fallen in Cannock Chase I am very concerned that some forms of violent crime are on the increase.
“I regularly discuss local policing and any issues faced by the local policing team with the local Chief Inspector, Sarah Wainwright and I know they take all crimes very seriously.
“I will now be raising the figures that have recently been released with Matthew Ellis, Police and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire, in an effort to see what further action can be taken to reduce these crimes across Cannock Chase.
“The Government has already announced a substantial increase to police funding across England and Wales, which will see Police funding across Staffordshire increase by up to £4.9 million in 2018/19.
“I know that Matthew Ellis is also keen to use funds raised through a precept increase to fund more police officers in Staffordshire, something I very much support.”
Mr Ellis has decided to raise the force’s council tax precept by 6.29 per cent, adding £11.40 a year to the average Band D property.
It includes £3.3m earmarked to hire more officers – 44 new officers in 2018/19 and a further 25 in the following 12 months. Staffordshire Police last night confirmed it was recruiting more neighbourhood officers.
Chf Insp Wainwright said: “Over the coming months there will also be an increase in the number of neighbourhood officers in the local policing team, meaning we can serve our communities even better and help tackle the root causes of crime too.”
However, the force is carrying out a review of its estate of more than 130 buildings. Valued at £50m, it features 22 police stations, including in Wombourne, Cannock and Stafford.
Tonight's event chaired by Mr Ellis takes place at Staffordshire County Buildings and will feature criminology students from America, as well as members of the Staffordshire Youth Commission.
Mr Ellis said: "Knife crime figures are troubling. The police cannot arrest their way out of this problem - this is a societal issue and we really want to understand what is behind the rise.
"It’s important we hear young people’s views on this issue and what they feel can be done to reduce such crime. Why are people carrying and using knives?"