Rise in violent crimes in North Somerset before lockdown
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An increase in violent crimes, sexual offences and drug offences were recorded in North Somerset in the 12 months leading up to lockdown.
The latest figures released by the Office for National Statistics revealed more than 5,500 violent crimes, 400 sexual offences and 400 drug offences took place in the district in the 12 months to March.
Violent crimes rose by five per cent, sex offences increased by three per cent and drug offences were up by six per cent.
No official crime statistics have been published for the coronavirus lockdown period, but police chiefs say their own figures show overall crime remains far below normal levels.
Chief Inspector Jess Aston, Local Policing Area Commander (LPA) for North Somerset, said: “There has been a small rise in the number of violent crimes across the force area in the 12 months leading up to March, which mirrors the national picture.
“However, it is also important to note that positively the number of instances where an injury occurred in those crimes were reduced.
“We remain committed in tackling violent crime and have several ongoing programmes in place to reduce such crimes.”
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The Chief Inspector confirmed a number of initiatives have been set up to ensure the safety of North Somerset’s younger population.
She added: “The establishment of Violence Reduction Units, led by the local authorities and working in partnership with police, education, health, social services and local communities, allows us to share information and work together to protect young people from harm and reassure the communities they live in.
“We also are committed to providing education to young people about the dangers of carrying weapons, such as a knives, by attending schools.”
Avon and Somerset Police also noted that the rise in drug offences is likely due to more effecient policing with a recently formed ‘dedicated daily team distrupting drug supply’ as opposed to a rise in criminal activity.
Chief Inspector Aston added: “Fundamentally, North Somerset remains a safe place to live and visit, which is reflected in the Purple Flag status awarded to Weston at the end of last year.
“Crime rates in North Somerset have remained stable over the past four years.”