West Norfolk crime rate 'up 11 per cent in a year', new figures show
Recorded crime in West Norfolk increased by 11 per cent in last year, according to new figures.
Data from the Office for National Statistics suggests nearly 1,000 more offences were recorded in the borough in 2018 than in the previous year.
But senior officers insist their efforts to put more officers on the front line are now having an effect.
Paul Sanford, Norfolk Police’s deputy chief constable, said: “Norfolk remains one of the safest counties in the country and continues to have the lowest crime rate in the East of England.”
The figures show there were 9,421 reported offences in the borough during 2018, compared with 8,499 in 2017.
Some of the biggest rises in the types of crime recorded relate to sexual offences and possession of guns or firearms.
The number of sexual offences recorded increased by 32 per cent to 398, although the ONS says that may be because victims are more willing to come forward to come forward as a result of high-profile cases.
A total of 81 cases of gun or knife possession were recorded, up 20, while there was also an increase in violent crime and drug-related offences.
But incidents of criminal damage did fall slightly, from 1,219 to 1,186.
And the overall rate of offences, 62 per 1,000 people, is still well below the national average of 88.
The force says the figures had also shown falls in several other categories of crime across the county, such as burglary, theft, shoplifting and homicides.
However, the ONS recorded a slight increase in thefts in West Norfolk, while it says burglary figures cannot be compared to previous years because of a change in categorisation.
Mr Sanford said increases in areas such as violent crime , robbery, sexual offences and possession of offensive weapons were partly down to improved recording and growing confidence among victims to report offences.
He added: “A significant proportion of the violent crime increases is due to a rise in the reporting of domestic abuse and other crimes where victim and offender are known to each other.
“We are committed to working with our partners and communities to prevent these crimes from occurring.
“Alongside other forces, Norfolk Police is managing an overall increase in demand alongside a rise in crimes which are increasingly complex to investigate.
“We are responding to these challenges with the introduction of our new policing model which has seen investment in additional frontline officers.
“We are now seeing the benefits of these changes, with increased officer numbers and enhanced pro-active policing to tackle the crimes which pose the greatest harm to our communities.
“We also know our commitment to tackle violent crime and Class A drug dealing under Operation Gravity is having an impact.”