West Yorkshire Police recorded the biggest increase in crime in the country last year.
New figures have revealed that West Yorkshire Police recorded 203,223 crimes (excluding fraud crimes which are processed differently) during in the year ending March which equates to an increase of 29% compared to the number recorded in the previous year.
The largest increase recorded by West Yorkshire Police came in the ‘Public order offences’ category where crimes more than doubled.
Violence with injury offences rose by 47% while sexual offences rose by 31% and weapon possession offences increased by 41%.
Across the whole of England and Wales there was an 8.7% increase in police recorded crime in the year to March 2016.
However, much of this increase is thought to be down to improvements in the ways police record crime and the figures may not actually represent a rise in crime at all.
And the Crime Survey for England and Wales, which measures people’s experiences of crimes rather than recorded crimes, has shown a 6% fall in the number of incidents.
Temp Chief Cons Dee Collins said: “This increase should be put into context - it is clear that the effect of crime recording changes has had a big impact on the headline figure for a rise in crime, but this is being experienced nationally and it is not something confined solely to this force.
“I also want to reassure our communities that up until 2014/15 crime had fallen in West Yorkshire for 11 consecutive years and that, despite some ongoing budgetary pressures, we are now recruiting 600 officers.
“We are a smaller organisation than in previous years but everyone who works for West Yorkshire Police is committed to keeping communities safe and protecting the most vulnerable ensuring this is completed with fairness, integrity and respect.
“Crime prevention is now at our heart and through effective problem solving we can strive to achieve sustainable solutions for reductions in crime and more positive outcomes for our communities and victims.
I would encourage members of our communities to come forward and report matters to us. Hate crime, Domestic violence and child sexual exploitation are not acceptable and we need to know how we can help.”
Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, reiterated that the majority of the rise was due to improved recording practices.
His office said that the actual West Yorkshire crime increase was around 4.5%.
Mr Burns-Williamson said: “It is, of course, a concern that the number of recorded public order, violence without injury and sexual offences have increased.
“Some of these increases can be accounted for in part by historic offences, increased confidence in reporting and more consistent recording of these crime types. I will be raising this with Temp Chief Cons Collins to discuss what more can be done to bring these figures down.”