Wiltshire Police are dealing with more violent crime than ever before – as official statistics show a 27% increase in weapons offences and 13% increase in sexual crime.
The latest figures released by the Office of National Statistics yesterday (27 April) show that last year, local officers responded to more incidents involving knives, theft and public order.
The percentage of crimes involving a knife showed a 14% increase in 2022 compared with the previous year – with 308 recorded incidents.
Reports of theft have risen by 21% whilst robbery was up by 9%. Criminal damage and arson reports were up by 2% but drug crime was down by 7%.
There was a 10% rise in total crime across Swindon and Wiltshire compared with the previous year – set against an 11 % increase in total crime for the South West area and an 8% increase for England and Wales (excluding Devon and Cornwall).
Despite this, the statistics show Wiltshire Police as having the lowest recorded overall crime rate per head of population of the five forces in the South West region – at 58.6 crimes per 1,000 people.
Assistant Chief Constable Deb Smith said: “These statistics point to the significant ongoing challenge facing Wiltshire Police – which reflects the national picture.
“We are targeting significant resources to meet this challenge with renewed sense of focus and direction – specifically meeting the operational priorities set out by our new Chief Constable around protecting public spaces, tackling violence and burglary.
“We hope to see this activity reflected in future reports.
“It is gratifying to note that the latest set of statistics indicate a decrease in the number of drug offences which reflect our determination to tackle the root causes of criminality in our communities which fuel many forms of offending.
“Statistics of course do not tell the whole story. We place the victims at the heart of everything we do and recognise that there is further work we need to do in order to protect our communities.
“We continually adapt and learn and we will not shy away from sharing this progress with the communities that we serve, working closely with partnership organisations to secure convictions, promote rehabilitation and make Wiltshire a safer place.”
Supt Phil Staynings who oversees neighbourhood policing in Swindon said: “We recognise the issue of the use of knives and other weapons as a factor in violent crime which is a growing cause of concern.
“Our officers and staff use every tactic available to reduce the number of knife incidents, but we can’t do this alone. By working together with our partners and supporting communities we know that we can be more effective, responsive and take steps to prevent people, usually young people, carrying and using knives.
“Education plays a vital part too. We are working closely with schools, colleges and youth groups to educate young people about the dangers of knives is as important as enforcing the law.
“Knife crime will continue to be a force priority and we will be relentless in the pursuit of people that use or carry bladed weapons.”
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