VIDEO: Concern over increase in crime in South Yorkshire

South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings at the launch of Restorative Justice Awareness campaign. Picture: Andrew Roe
South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings at the launch of Restorative Justice Awareness campaign. Picture: Andrew Roe
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Sex offences in South Yorkshire have gone up by nearly half over the last year, new figures reveal.

In the 12 months up to September 2015 there were 2,732 sex crimes logged by South Yorkshire Police - up 46 per cent on the year before, with police chiefs claiming victims feel more confident in reporting offences than before.

Overall there was a three per cent increase in crime across the county, with a total of 96,303 offences recorded, including 17,680 offences of violence - up 23 per cent on the previous year.

Most categories of crime saw reductions in offences, including a 17 per cent drop in household burglaries, with 6,194 reported.

Robberies fell by 12 per cent, with 971 crimes logged.

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said police funding cuts are beginning to take their toll.

Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire Alan Billings.

Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire Alan Billings.

By 2017 South Yorkshire Police must have saved £74 million since 2007.

“The latest national crime figures make it very clear that the years of cuts to police budgets are starting to have undesirable consequences,” he said.

“For years, crime has been falling. These figures suggest that last year crime rose nationally by 6.5 per cent. If this were to become a trend it would be worrying.

“I have no doubt that the better results here in large part reflect the dedication and professionalism of the South Yorkshire force.

“It would be wrong to cut policing budgets further and this will be one of the factors I will take into account when setting the precept for the police service for the next financial year.”

Chief Superintendent Rob Odell, of South Yorkshire Police, said: “Although the overall crime figure for this period rose by three per cent, we have continued to drive down other crime levels in key areas across South Yorkshire during a significantly challenging time in the way the force operates as we try to make significant savings.

“The increase in sexual offences being recorded is clear indication that victims and survivors feel more confident to report such dreadful crimes in the knowledge that they will be listened to, we will provide appropriate support and that we will thoroughly investigate what has happened.

“Our recording of violent crime has both changed and improved. We are capturing incidents from a wider range of locations including prisons and schools, which allows us to better understand and respond to the problem.”