Overall crime rates drop but violent and sexual crimes on the rise in Bucks, say new police figures

There were 11,393 incidents of violent crime alone in Bucks - over 30 per day on average

Friday, 5th November 2021, 11:04 am
Updated Friday, 5th November 2021, 11:25 am

Violent and sexual crime has risen in Buckinghamshire over the last year, despite a decrease in overall recorded crime across England and Wales.

Thames Valley Police recorded 11,393 incidents of violent crime in Buckinghamshire in the 12 months to June, according to the Office for National Statistics. That amounts to an average of over 30 per day.

That was an increase of 13% compared to the previous year.

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At 20.8 crimes per 1,000 people, that was far lower than the rate across England and Wales, which stood at 31.6.

One of the main factors behind the increase in Buckinghamshire was the rise in stalking and harassment, which rose by 47%, from 2,703 incidents to 3,979.

There were five homicides, which include murders and manslaughters, up from none in the previous 12 months.

Around 5.8 million offences were recorded across England and Wales in the year to June – in line with the previous year – though there was a 3% decrease to 4.9 million offences when excluding fraud and computer misuse.

Nick Stripe, head of crime statistics at the ONS, said the figures showed overall reductions in the reporting and recording of many crime types during periods of lockdown.

However, reports of fraud and hacking continued to rise – something the ONS previously suggested was due to criminals taking advantage of behavioural changes during the pandemic, while many took to online shopping amid lockdowns when there were restrictions on movement.

The total number of offences in Buckinghamshire increased by 2%, with police recording 31,120 crimes over the course of the year.

This puts the overall crime rate at 56.9 per 1,000 people, compared to a national average of 81.3.

Other crimes recorded in Buckinghamshire included:

1,043 sexual offences, a rise of 13%

9,564 theft offences, down 19%

3,254 incidents of criminal damage and arson, down 3%

1,381 drug offences, up 18%

292 possession of weapons such as firearms or knives, down 5%

3,306 public order offences, up 74%

The ONS figures show 61,158 rapes were recorded across England and Wales in the 12 months to June – the highest recorded annual figure to date, and up by 10% from 55,779 the year before.

The second-highest number of sexual offences was also recorded over the period (164,763) – an 8% increase on the previous year.

The ONS urged caution when interpreting the data.

Mr Stripe added: “The rise could be due to an increase in victim reporting as lockdowns eased, an increase in the number of victims, or to an increase in victims’ willingness to report incidents, potentially as a result of high-profile cases and campaigns in recent times.”

Jeffrey DeMarco, assistant director at the charity Victim Support, said: “Much more needs to be done urgently to tackle both these offences and to ensure that those who come forward and report them are able to access justice.”