Express & Star

Weapons offences, burglaries and sex attacks all on the rise in our region

Nearly all types of crime have risen in the Black Country and Staffordshire in the last year – with some soaring by around half, figures show.

The latest figures show a big rise in crime across the West Midlands Police area

Sizeable increases have been seen in possession of weapons offences, knife crime, theft, burglary and sex offences among other crimes in the region.

And it equates to a 14 per cent rise overall for West Midlands Police whilst Staffordshire Police has seen a 30 per cent rise in the year to September 2022.

Meanwhile across England and Wales around 9.1 million offences were committed – down 10 per cent in the year to March 2020 before the pandemic.

Tiff Lynch, deputy national chair at the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “For the public to have the police they deserve, we must be able to retain the experienced officers we have and attract the talented and dedicated individuals we need by offering fair pay, staff levels that do not represent a threat to our officers, and ensure the kit and the support so desperately needed is provided.”

In Dudley, 30,905 crimes were recorded by police which was up 11 per cent. In Wolverhampton, it was 35,720 which was up 12 per cent. Sandwell saw an 11 per cent increase to 35,870 whilst Walsall had a 14 per cent rise to 34,252. In Stafford, 8,413 crimes were recorded by police – up by 41 per cent. In South Staffordshire 5,721 crimes were recorded, up by 29 per cent.

A spokesman for West Midlands Police said: “With regard to knife crime, we have one of the youngest population in Europe and this, combined with high levels of deprivation in some areas, feeds into youth violence and knife crime. We’re working with partners to tackle root causes and improve outcomes.

“This includes focusing on hotspot areas with regular high-visibility patrols in areas where evidence shows there’s a risk of serious violence. Educational sessions with young people, weapon sweeps, visits to knife retailers and work with border officials on the import of banned weapons continues.

“Tackling burglary is a priority as we understand how traumatic this invasive crime can be. Vehicle theft has increased by a quarter, this is largely driven by a global shortage of car parts with many cars stolen and ending up in chop shops , where they are broken down for parts which are then sold on.

“We’ve recently launched a new vehicle crime taskforce, focused on targeting offenders and also garages that are acting as chop shops. We would urge people to support us by reporting any suspicious behaviour at garages or industrial units. We’re also supporting security improvements at vehicle crime hotspots, including hotels and shops.”

Crime statistics for the West Midlands and Staffordshire police regions

Deputy Chief Constable Emma Barnett, from Staffordshire Police, added: “While overall crime remains low compared to other police force areas, there has been an increase in certain crime types although it is worth noting that many crimes have remained lower than pre-pandemic levels.

“Some crimes have exceeded these levels, including vehicle thefts. We have recognised the impact this has on our communities and have created a new specialist team to tackle vehicle crime. This team is dedicated to finding those responsible and protecting residents and businesses. The team’s introduction has led to an increase of 32 in the number of arrests made.

“Violent crime continues to be a priority with knife crime, domestic abuse and sexual offences all seeing noticeable increases, in line with national increases. As part of our redesign of our Public Protection Unit, we are looking at how the teams that investigate our most serious crimes, such as serious violence and sexual assault, can provide the best possible service for victims and other vulnerable people.”

Minister for Policing, Crime and Fire Chris Philp said: “Overall crime in England and Wales has dropped by 50 per cent since 2010, excluding fraud and computer misuse, and since December 2019 there have been reductions in the number of burglaries, cases of serious violence and murder – which are all still lower than before the pandemic.

“But I am clear that there is much more to do, particularly to protect women and girls. “