Crime has risen in West Yorkshire by a quarter in a year – but police chiefs think the truer number is around 4%.

The number of recorded crimes in the area was 25.6% higher in 2015 than in 2014, according to the latest crime figures from the Office for National Statistics, with 192,505 crimes, excluding fraud, recorded in 2015.

The area saw public order offences rise 88%, violence against the person up by three-quarters (77%) – the biggest year-on-year rise in England and Wales – with violence with injury up 48% and sexual offences up 57%, while cases of criminal damage and arson were up by a fifth in a year.

West Yorkshire has the highest rate of burglaries per head in England and Wales, 11.1 per 1,000 people.

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There was an 11% rise in homicides (up 56 to 573 offences) across England and Wales in 2015 compared to the year before.

While some rises in crime may be down to better reporting and recording, more serious offences involving injury are generally less likely to have been affected by the crime recording improvements.

There was also a national 9% rise in offences involving knives or sharp instruments (up 2,425 to 28,008 offences). Regarding the rise in knife crime, the Office for National Statistics said there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that a tightening of recording procedures may be contributing to the increase in some forces.

A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “Changes in how West Yorkshire Police records reports of crime are continuing to impact on overall crime figures.

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“Total recorded crime has risen by more than 25% with the force estimating that most of the rise is due to greater compliance with the National Crime Recording Standard. Previously, while crimes were being properly investigated, they were not always recorded consistently, particularly at the initial stage.

“Around 4% of the latest rise is estimated as being due to an actual increase in crime.

“This increase is mainly associated with cyber-enabled offending as the internet creates the opportunity for offences such as online bullying and harassment, sexual exploitation and the sharing of indecent images.

Hard drives seized from Baker Lee Blackwell’s home had more than 150,000 photos and videos on them (stock image)

“Additionally, there has been an increase in vehicle crime with commercial vans now the most commonly stolen vehicle in West Yorkshire.

“Other factors for the increase include operational and policy changes around how certain crimes are responded to and for some crimes, particularly sexual offences, a greater confidence and preparedness to come forward to the police.

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Temporary West Yorkshire Chief Constable Dee Collins said: “There are a number of other factors which have affected the figures, making the small, actual increases appear much more significant. The effect of crime recording changes can be seen not just in our figures, but in the national picture too.

“The recent rise in crime should be viewed in the context of the long term picture, in which crime in West Yorkshire fell for 11 consecutive years up to 2014/15 and while we are continuing to police with less money and fewer officers than in the past we are now in the fortunate position of being able to recruit a number of officers again.”

West Yorkshire Deputy Chief Constable Dee Collins