Violent crime on the rise in Buckinghamshire and Aylesbury
Violent crime has risen in Buckinghamshire over the last year, despite an overall drop in recorded offences.
Thames Valley Police recorded 11,106 incidents of violent crime in Buckinghamshire in the 12 months to December, according to the Office for National Statistics.
That was an increase of 18% compared to the previous year.
At 20.4 crimes per 1,000 people, that was lower than the rate across England and Wales, which stood at 30.
One of the main factors behind the increase in Buckinghamshire was the rise in stalking and harassment, which rose by 47%, from 2,451 incidents to 3,595.
Offences of violence without injury were recorded 4,777 times, an increase of 15% on the previous year, and violence with injury on 2,731 occasions, down by 3%.
There were two homicides, which include murders and manslaughters, up from none in the previous 12 months.
Overall, police recorded 8% fewer crimes across England and Wales – there were around 5.6 million offences in the year to December.
The ONS said the annual drop was mainly driven by a “substantial fall” in crime of 15% between April and June as the first lockdown restrictions were introduced.
While police-recorded crimes increased from July to September as restrictions were gradually eased, they fell again in the last three months of the year as lockdown measures were reimposed, it added.
Sophie Sanders, of the ONS Centre for Crime and Justice, said: “There were fluctuations in the level of crime experienced in England and Wales throughout 2020.
“Although a small proportion of these fluctuations will be the result of seasonal effects on crime trends, the majority can be attributed to the introduction and subsequent easing of national lockdown restrictions throughout the year.
“Most crime types have seen recorded offences fall year-on-year. The notable exceptions are drug offences, because of proactive police activity in crime hotspots during the first lockdown, while violence against the person also saw a small increase.”
The total number of offences in Buckinghamshire fell by 3%, with police recording 30,559 crimes over the course of the year.
This puts the overall crime rate at 56.2 per 1,000 people, compared to a national average of 80.8.
Other crimes recorded in Buckinghamshire included:
923 sexual offences, a decrease of 8%
10,134 theft offences, down 25%
3,311 incidents of criminal damage and arson, down 7%
1,351 drug offences, up 40%
315 possession of weapons such as firearms or knives, up 5%
2,482 public order offences, up 53%
Crest Advisory, a criminal justice consultancy, said it is not surprising that crime patterns were "hugely affected" by the unprecedented restrictions of the pandemic.
But it noted that drug offences across England and Wales rose by 15% and there was a 7% increase in the number of domestic abuse-related offences recorded by police in 2020.
Danny Shaw, head of strategy and insight at the organisation, added: "The rise in drugs offences was principally due to greater police activity in tackling dealers and organised crime gangs, who were also easier to spot with fewer people out on the street.
"The increase in reports of domestic abuse may well be linked to lockdown, when people in abusive relationships were forced to spend long periods together."