Norfolk hailed a safe county despite figures showing an increase in recorded crime
- Credit: Ian Burt
Police have moved to reassure people in Norfolk that the county remains one of the safest in the country, despite an increase in violent crime and sexual offences.
The number of burglary, theft and criminal damage offences decreased in 2018 compared to 2017, according to new figures released by the Office for National Statistics.
And although the figures show no significant change in the overall level of crime, reports of violence, harassment and stalking had gone up, with a significant rise in knife crime in 2018 compared to six years ago.
Reports of sexual offence rose by 7pc year-on-year, while those of robbery increased by 14pc.
Deputy chief constable Paul Sanford, of Norfolk police, said the county remained one of the safest in the country, but said: 'We acknowledge there has been a rise in violent crime, robbery, sexual offences and possession of offensive weapons which in part is down to genuine increases in crime.
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'It is also the case that improvements in the accuracy of crime recording have contributed to this rise, along with a growing confidence in victims to come forward and report crime.'
In the 12-month period leading up to December 2018, there were 3,528 recorded incidents of burglaries in the county, a 13pc drop on 2017. This trend was reflected in thefts and criminal damage, which both went down by 5pc.
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But cases of harassment and stalking shot up by 35pc in 2018, with 4,120 recorded offences in Norfolk, as well as violent crimes without injury which went up by 20pc to 9,990.
Police recorded 286 offences which involved a knife and sharp object between January and December last year, a threefold increase compared to 2012 when it was just 97.
Deputy chief constable Mr Sanford said: '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 across the country, 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.'