Overall crime on the rise in South Yorkshire

Andy Holt, deputy chief constable of South Yorkshire Police.
Andy Holt, deputy chief constable of South Yorkshire Police.

Overall crime in South Yorkshire has increased in the last 12 months - including a rise in sexual offences, weapon possession and violent offences.

Statistics released by the Office of National Statistics today, revealed there were 1, 784 extra reported crimes in the year to April 2015 compared with the previous 12-month period. This equates to an increase of two per cent.

Sexual offences are up by 61 per cent, but South Yorkshire Police said this is in line with a national trend of an increase in reporting of this type of crime.

Public order offences rose by 26 per cent, robbery was up by two per cent (18 more incidents). Violence against the person was up 28 per cent, but police said nobody was injured in the majority of these cases. Weapon possession rose by 17 per cent.

However, the last 12 months has also seen a reduction in a number of other serious offences.

This includes homicides (down 39 per cent), drug offences (down 16 per cent), criminal damage and arson (down two per cent), vehicle offences (down 11 per cent) and theft down five per cent.

Domestic burglary has fallen by two per cent, equating to 166 fewer victims, while theft from the person fell by four per cent (68 fewer offences).

Andy Holt, deputy chief constable, said he was encouraged to see that a reduction in crime was still achieved in many areas, despite the challenging austerity measures being faced by the force.

He added: “We have recently lost many experienced and valued members of the force through voluntary redundancy. And it doesn’t end there – like all forces across the country, these are extremely challenging times and we are required to save £59 million by 2020 as part of the ongoing comprehensive spending review.

“We are working hard to minimise the impact staffing levels has on the public of South Yorkshire and continue to explore more efficient and smarter ways to keep people safe, including the increased use of mobile technology, which means officers are more visible and in the communities they serve.

“The increase we’ve seen in the reporting of sexual offences, in my view, is a positive sign that victims of such terrible abuse in South Yorkshire feel confident in reporting their experiences to us in the knowledge they will be supported and listened to.

“Our officers and staff work tirelessly everyday to keep people safe and we remain committed to delivering the best possible service to victims of crime as well as bringing those responsible to justice.”