Huge rise in stalking, violence and robbery across West Yorkshire

Crime across West Yorkshire has risen by 12 per cent in the last 12 months, latest figures show.
Crime across West Yorkshire has risen by 12 per cent in the last 12 months, latest figures show.

There has been a huge rise in stalking, violence and robbery across West Yorkshire in the last 12 months, figures released today reveal.

Crime across West Yorkshire has seen a 12 per cent rise overall with 291, 573 offences reported to police, figures from the Office for National Statistics show.

Stalking and harassment saw the biggest increase.

There were 29,967 offences reported to West Yorkshire Police in the 12 months to December 2018 - a 59 per cent increase.

West Yorkshire Police said the increase is due to improvements in "crime recording practices" and an increased confidence by victims to come forward.

There has also been a 33 per cent increase in possession of offensive weapons with 2,314 offences reported to police.

Statistics also show there were 2,715 serious offences where a knife was used.

Violence against a person and robberies also had a rise of 32 per cent with 102,172 and 3,830 crimes recorded respectively.

There were 8,564 sexual offences reported to police - a rise of 10 per cent.

There were also 39 homicides.

Temporary Deputy Chief Constable Russ Foster said he does not underestimate public concerns following the rise in crime, but states the increase in some areas is partly attributable to better recording.

Mr Foster said: “West Yorkshire Police has invested significant time and effort to improve our crime recording practice and I am confident that we are doing very well in this area, so current figures are probably the most accurate they have ever been. Inevitably, that has inflated the numbers in some areas.

“But it is also important to understand that two thirds of violent offences result in no physical injury to anyone, for example harassment now falls into the violent crime category.

“Nevertheless, despite a recently publicised national survey which showed violent crime had fallen consistently for some years. I understand public concerns, which are often heightened by tragic, high profile incidents across the country.

“Our officers understand the impact of violent crime all too well, as they often bear the brunt of assaults from suspects and even sometimes from those they are trying to help."

Mr Foster said he welcomes additional government funding the force is receiving to tackle serious violence, in particular knife crime.

He said: “West Yorkshire Police is exploring a series of measures to tackle knife crime, from enforcement as part of the national Operation Sceptre and targeted patrols in key hotspot areas, to diversionary activity such as the potential creation of youth zones, working with partners to give young people somewhere to go and something to do. We are also working closely with education colleagues, to drive the message that carrying a knife is never the answer.”

Bike theft across West Yorkshire fell by six per cent, criminal damage and arson by five per cent, and theft by four per cent.

Burglary was also down three per cent.

Mr Foster said he welcomed the reduction in vehicle theft, alongside the other smaller reductions.

He said: “I am really pleased to see 1,500 fewer victims of theft from vehicle and more than 750 fewer burglary victims. It is a trend I hope we can build on going forward.”