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Crime falls across West Mercia policing region but knife offences are on the rise

Crime is falling across the West Mercia policing district but incidents involving knives are on the rise, new figures show.

Figures show an increase in knife crime incidents

Data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Thursday show crime in Shropshire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire fell in the year to June 2023.

The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) reveals that across England and Wales, total crime fell by around 10 per cent with an estimated 8.4 million offences recorded in the year to June 2023.

The ONS has put the fall down to decreases in fraud and criminal damage offences.

In the West Mercia policing region, crime has fallen from 95,006 recorded offences (excluding fraud) in the year to March 2023 to 93,374 recorded offences in the year to June 2023.

The figures also show a 3.5 per cent fall in violent crime in West Mercia with 37,520 incidents of violence reported in the year to June 2023 compared to 38,874 in the year to March 2023.

The fall in the figures also includes some of the most serious crimes with the number of murders in West Mercia falling from 21 to 16 over the two periods.

The number of reported sexual offences in the region also fell from 4,114 offences reported to West Mercia Police in the year to March 2023 down to 3,986 in the most recent figures.

Burglary is also down with the number of offences falling from 5,089 to 5,029.

However, knife crime in the region is on the rise.

The number of knife and sharp instrument offences recorded by West Mercia Police rose to 665 offences in the year to June 2023, up from 584 in the year to March 2023 - showing an increase of 13 per cent.

Nationally, knife crime has increased by 3 per cent.

West Mercia Police say the force has recently adopted the Home Office led National Data Quality Improvement Service (NDQIS) which aims to improve data quality and comparability, and that the rise in the figures may "not necessarily mean there is an increase in the number of offences".

Superintendent Edward Hancox from the serious violence team at West Mercia Police, added: “Early intervention is crucial to tackling knife crime and we welcome the investment from our Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion in the Children’s Society Steer Clear programme.

"The programme was initially launched by West Mercia Police which in 2022 received national recognition for its work in making our communities safer. Officers will continue to work with partners to refer children and young people involved with, or on the periphery of, knife crime to the programme.

“We look forward to once again supporting the next national knife surrender campaign, Operation Sceptre, in November. The dedicated week of action gives an opportunity to highlight the work teams right across the force do throughout the year to tackle knife crime and raise awareness of the dangers of carrying a knife.”