Violent crime up 29 per cent – but overall rate remains lower than most areas

Suffolk police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore and assistant chief constable Rachel Kearton say

Suffolk police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore and assistant chief constable Rachel Kearton say they have a close relationship with the public and share people's concerns. Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY - Credit: Archant

Violent crime rose almost a third in Suffolk last year, according to latest figures.

Suffolk saw the biggest rise in the region for offences involving violence, stalking, harassment, drugs and public order.

Overall crime went up 19 per cent, according to Office for National Statistics figures – but the crime rate per person remains 15pc lower than across England and Wales – with people in Suffolk less likely to become a victim than almost two thirds of force areas.

Violent crime increased 29pc; sex offences went up by a third and robbery rose 36pc – all bigger increases than the average taken from 44 police forces.

While drug offences went down 4pc nationally, Suffolk saw a 28pc rise to 1,509 – although still about half that of Essex.

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Weapon possession increased by almost a fifth – contributing to a blanket rise in crimes against society, which include public order offences (up 42pc to 4,534).

More modest rises were recorded for theft (8pc to 18,704), criminal damage and arson (8pc to 7,114), and burglary (6pc 4,172).

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Assistant chief constable Rachel Kearton said: 'We give regular regard to monitoring performance by gathering information from partners and our own data.

'The constabulary recognises there has been an increase – as reflected across the country.

'It's difficult to say what's happening elsewhere, but I can say with confidence we have very good reporting standards and a close relationship with the public.

'We are seeing improvements in traditional crimes like theft and burglary – but it's important to remember that if you're a victim, that's the crime that matters to you. We make the victim centre to any investigation.'

Although improved recording and proactive policing contributed to rises, increases in violence and weapon crime are supported by NHS admissions data.

Police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore said: 'Any increase is unwelcome and I share people's concerns.

'Part of the extra resource enabled through the council tax precept rise will help maintain the good work being done.

'Suffolk remains a safe place, but we can't be complacent.

'A lot of emphasis has gone on dealing with gangs and violence, and I believe raising the profile will help improve reporting.

'If we see demand has changed, it helps us allocate resources.'

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