Robberies up by almost 50 per cent in Fenland - and knife crime incidents rise too - but drug related offences show a 15 per cent drop

Office for National Statistics data shows there were 74 reported robberies between July 2017 and Mar

Office for National Statistics data shows there were 74 reported robberies between July 2017 and March 2018. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

The number of robberies in Fenland has increased by almost 50 per cent according to recorded crime statistics.

Office for National Statistics data shows there were 74 reported robberies between July 2017 and March 2018.

These can include muggings, as well as more serious attacks such as hold ups with guns and knives.

That figure is up 48 per cent on 2016-17, when 50 incidents were recorded.

The statistics are based on crimes recorded with the police, and the ONS urges caution in interpreting some of these figures.

Some offences go unreported while others may be more numerous due to a change in the focus of the police or greater public attention.

However statisticians said there appears to be a genuine rise in robberies.

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Joe Traynor, from the ONS Centre for Crime and Justice, said: “Over recent decades, we’ve seen continued falls in overall levels of crime but in the last year the trend has been more stable.

“We saw rises in some types of theft and in some lower-volume but higher-harm types of violence.”

Overall, police recorded crime in Fenland increased between July 2017 and June 2018.

Over the 12 month period, 7,080 crimes were recorded, up by 6 per cent on 2016-17.

That means there was a rate of 70 crimes per 1,000 residents during 2017-18, below the England and Wales average of 84.

Gun and knife possession offences in Fenland rose by seven to 46 incidents.

There has been one homicide, a murder or manslaughter. There were four cases of death or injury by dangerous driving.

Across England and Wales, the number of recorded homicides rose by 14 per cent, reflecting an “upward trend” since 2014. These figures excluded people who died in terror attacks.

There was a 9 per cent increase in offences with knives or sharp objects, leading to the highest number of incidents since March 2011, when comparable records started.

In Fenland theft, one of the most high volume crimes, increased by 5 per cent. Drugs related offences dropped by 15 per cent.

Commenting on the national figures, Chief Constable Bill Skelly, of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said: “Rising crime is placing greater demand on policing, as forces strive to reduce crime as well as respond to a growing terrorist threat.

“There are also more calls from the public for help, including responding to people in crisis when other agencies lack their own capacity.”

Mr Skelly said the gap in numbers between reported crimes and criminals being charged is a “real concern for us”.

“The upcoming spending review is a crucial opportunity for the Government and police leaders to come to a consensus about police demand, our capabilities to meet it and the funding required,” he added.

Criminal damage in Fenland, which includes arson and vandalising cars and houses, has gone up, from 1,080 incidents in 2016-17, to 1,102 in the latest figures.

While violence with injury, which includes assault, GBH and wounding, has risen, this could just be due to improved police recording as opposed to an increase in incidents.

Similarly sexual crime statistics are hard to judge as many more victims are now coming forward due to a series of high profile cases.

In Fenland there were 188 incidents recorded between July 2017 and June 2018, a 1 per cent rise on the previous year, when 186 crimes were reported.

There were also 280 cases of stalking and harassment reported over the same period.

John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation for England and Wales, commented: “It didn’t take a crystal ball to predict these shocking increases because they only reflect what we have been telling the Government for years – we need more boots on the ground.”

Labour described the ONS statistics as “truly shocking” and accused the Tories of “failing in their duty to protect the public and keep our citizens safe”.

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said: “These figures are a tragic indictment of this Tory government’s policies.”

Policing Minister Nick Hurd said: “This Government is determined to tackle all types of crime - and although the chance of being a victim remains low, we are taking decisive action in a number of areas.

The Government announced a £200 million Youth Endowment Fund to support “young people at risk of involvement in crime”.

Mr Hurd added: “On top of this, we are consulting on a public health approach to serious violence and giving police extra powers to tackle knife crime through our Offensive Weapons Bill.”

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