Crime increases in Avon and Somerset with 30,000 more committed in 2016 than in 2014

PUBLISHED: 07:00 30 January 2017

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Sexual offences, domestic burglaries and public order offences are among crimes which are becoming more common in the police force area as the total number of crimes continues to rise, official statistics reveal.

Crime stats in Avon and Somerset.Crime stats in Avon and Somerset.

The figures, published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), reveal there were nearly 30,000 more crimes recorded in the year ending September 2016 than there were in 12 month preceding September 2014, though the number of drug offences in the area has fallen.

Sexual offences have increased in the force area by almost 60 per cent in the past two years to 3,188, while public order offences have nearly tripled over the same period.

There were almost 1,500 more domestic burglaries recorded last year than in 2014, with the total rising to 5,685 in 2016.

The number of theft offences in the force area has remained static, with around 13,000 recorded each year.

Incidents of violence without injury in Avon and Somerset have almost doubled to 24,612 since 2014 and there has been a small increase in incidents of violence with injury to 10,651.

But statisticians from the ONS attribute the rise in violent crime to changes in recording methods which see harassment offences recorded under this category for the first time, thus deeming the increase as ‘not statistically significant’.

The statistics also reveal a 40 per cent reduction in the number of drug offences in Avon and Somerset since 2014, with the number of incidents recorded dropping by 2,000.

A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Constabulary said the fall in the number of drug crimes in the area is down to ‘innovative’ schemes.

The spokesman added: “Many people involved in drugs are vulnerable and we do not look to criminalise them unnecessarily.

“We will always look to help those with drug dependency issues and will work with our partners to provide them with support.

“Due to the increasing demands on our resources we have had to come up with innovative ways in which we can tackle the issues behind drug crime.

“For example, since April we have been running a pilot scheme in Bristol which has offered anyone caught in possession of small amounts of any controlled drug, regardless of their criminal history, the chance to take part in a drug education workshop instead of being arrested.

“The option of the workshop is only offered once and anyone caught a second time will be arrested and dealt with as normal.

“The scheme is aimed at dealing with low-level drug offences by engaging with users, reducing re-offending and keeping them out of the criminal justice system.”

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