Sharp rise in violence as crime increases across the West Midlands
Crime across the West Midlands has surged again with spikes in violence, sex offences and robberies, according to figures released this morning.
Recorded crime rose by 13 per cent in the area covered by West Midlands Police from the period April to March last year, to this year.
There were a total of 233,393 incidents in the latest period.
Incidents of violence against a person went up 18 per cent to 57,712, sex offences 33 per cent to 6,463 and robberies 27 per cent to 7,462.
The number of murders also rose, from 39 to 41.
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The figures, published by the Office of National Statistics, also revealed the percentage of crimes involving knives.
They showed that out of 38 attempted murders in the force area, 48 per cent involved knives and out of 1,591 robberies, 21 per cent involved blades.
Crime has also risen in Staffordshire, up eight per cent.
Across the county there were notable spikes in robberies, up 40 per cent, weapon possessions, up 30 per cent, and stalking and harassment, up 25 per cent.
Efficiency in the face of cuts
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson, responded to the figures this morning.
He said: “Crime has been consistently rising for some time, further emphasising why the government need to put more resources into policing.
"The rise in crime in the West Midlands is in line with the rest of the country.
“In response I am doing all I can to drive efficiencies.
"I am cutting down on bureaucracy and giving officers the technology to do their job on the move, so they don't have to come back to a police building unnecessarily to fill in forms.
"These efficiencies are helping officers spend more time tackling crime and keeping people safe.
"The efficiencies don’t make up for the huge cuts we have faced to our budgets.
"We have lost over £145 million since 2010, meaning we now have over 2,000 fewer officers."
The data revealed jumps in killings and knife crime across England and Wales, with statisticians saying crime levels are now 'stabilising' after decades of reductions.
In the 12 months to March, forces in England and Wales logged a total of 5.5 million offences in total, a rise of a tenth (11 per cent) compared with the previous year.
Excluding cases linked to terror attacks and the Hillsborough disaster, the number of recorded homicides increased by 12 per cent year-on-year, from 627 to 701.
Police registered 40,147 offences involving a knife or sharp instrument in the year to March, a 16 per cent increase on 2016/17 and the highest number since 2010/11.
Publishing the data, the Office for National Statistics said: “Over recent decades, we’ve seen a fall in overall levels of crime, a trend that now looks to be stabilising.”
Caroline Youell, of the ONS, said most people do not experience crime.
She said: “Today’s figures show a fairly stable picture in England and Wales for most crime types.
“It is too early to say if this is a change to the long-term declining trend.
“There have been increases in some lower-volume “high-harm” offences such as homicide and knife crime, consistent with rises over the past three years.
“However, the latest rise in gun crime is much smaller than previously seen.
“We have also seen continued increases in some theft offences such as vehicle-related theft and burglary, while computer viruses have fallen.”