Surge in stalking, violence and sexual offences recorded by West Midlands Police

Crime rates have increased more in the West Midlands than in any other region in the country - with surges in stalking, violence and sexual offences.

The latest official statistics show crime recorded by West Midlands Police shot up by 28 per cent in the year to September 2021.

There were 326,479 crimes recorded by West Midlands Police in the year to September 2021, compared to 254,476 crimes in the previous year.

Stalking and harassment crimes increased by 91 per cent, after 56,658 crimes were recorded, while violence against the person surged by 46 per cent to 149,150 offences.

Sexual offences also increased almost 40 per cent, possession of weapon offences rose by 65 per cent and bicycle thefts by 20 per cent.

Meanwhile, the number of public order offences increased by 54 per cent, from 21,701 to 33,368.

There were reductions in burglaries by around 11 per cent.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster said some of the rise in crime was down to improvements in the way offences are recorded.

He added: "Nonetheless it highlights the extent to which domestic abuse is so prevalent within our communities.

"I’ve pledged to do all I can to prevent and tackle, violence against women and domestic abuse."

The data from the Office for National Statistics also shows there was a fall in total crime recorded by Staffordshire Police by nine per cent.

More than 75,000 offences were recorded in the region in the year ending September 2020, compared to more than 68,000 the following year.

However, despite the fall in Staffordshire, stalking and harassment offences rose by 18 per cent and robbery crimes by two per cent.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster said that much of the rise in crime was related to the recording of domestic abuse and stalking and harassment offences.

"Despite West Midlands Police force shrinking by around a quarter since 2010 thanks to government austerity, I will continue to do all I can to prevent and tackle violence against women and domestic abuse," he said.

"That is why, I announced a doubling in the number of domestic and sexual abuse specialists, who will support victims to escape their abuser and obtain justice.

“Government cuts since 2010 have placed considerable pressures on the ability of West Midlands Police to respond to the recording of dramatic increases in domestic violence, stalking and harassment.

He welcomed the fall in burglaries in the region, adding: “Other rises in crime in the region, is exactly why I am rebuilding community policing, putting an extra 450 police officers out on the streets of the West Midlands.

"They will provide more justice, safety and security for the people and communities of the region.

"Those 450 neighbourhood officers will make a real difference. However, despite the increase in officer numbers, by 2023 we will still be 1,000 officers short of the officers we had in 2010."

West Midlands Police said it continues to invest in key initiatives to help victims of stalking and harassment report crime and officers are better equipped to deal with these reports.

Training has also been refreshed to address safety in the home for children who are victims of abuse, bosses say.

Deputy Chief Constable Vanessa Jardine said: "We recognise that our biggest crime type between September 2020 to September 2021 was domestic abuse and much has been done to tackle this but our work hasn’t stopped.

"We work closely with many charities and refuges across the West Midlands who are ready, willing and able to help - there is no need to suffer alone.”

A Staffordshire Police spokesman said: “Within the last 12 months, overall crime in Staffordshire has remained low. The force has responded to changing crime demands in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen reductions in theft and burglary offences, but increases in online offending.

“As restrictions have relaxed we are working to maintain the reductions by anticipating peaks in demand. This includes effective proactive policing across the night-time economy and working with partners to problem solve in areas such as anti-social behaviour and public order.

“We are also responding to an increased awareness and better recording of stalking and harassment offences by continuing to support victims of stalking and harassment with the use of Stalking Protection Orders and effective investigation.”

The figures showed that City of London Police recorded the biggest drop in crime with a 34 per cent fall in the year to September 2021, compared to the previous year.

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