Crime on the increase in South Yorkshire

Police on duty for a march in Rotherham town centre
Police on duty for a march in Rotherham town centre

Police chiefs have vowed to battle on in the war against crime - despite new figures showing an increase in offending.

In the 12 months to June recorded crime went up by 1.5 per cent - 1,360 offences - with 92,797 logged compared to 91,437 the year before.

Offences of violence spiked by 27 per cent, with 13,322 offences recorded this year compared to 10,449 the year before.

There were 20 murders committed between July 2013 and June 2014, up two on the previous 12 months.

Police records also reveal an 80 per cent increase in sex offences - 725 crimes - with 1,629 recorded over the last 12 months compared to 904 the year before.

There was also an increase in robberies, up to 1,084 in a 12 month period compared to 964, and offences of possessing offensive weapons rose by 18 per cent - with 594 incidents recorded compared to 505 the year before.

But drug offences fell by 12 per cent, with 3,873 recorded compared to 4,401 and theft fell by two per cent - from 54,647 offences to 53,482.

House burglaries also fell by 10 per cent.

Police chiefs pointed out that reductions in some crimes had been achieved despite the force having to make savings of £45 million by 2017 because of government funding cuts.

And they stressed that all forces recorded a rise in sexual offences, and suggested that the offence is not any more prolific but victims now have more confidence in coming forward to report incidents.

Deputy Chief Constable Andy Holt said: “Despite continued challenges, we have worked extremely hard to ensure overall crime levels have remained relatively static.

“The force is committed to delivering the best possible service to victims of crime – whether they’ve been robbed or burgled or have made the courageous decision to tell us about sexual abuse they’ve endured.

“We are committed to tackling sexual offences and we continue to sensitively work with victims to bring offenders to justice.

“Child sexual exploitation is a top priority for the force and we’ve implemented a six-fold increase in the amount of staff dedicated to tackling child sexual exploitation.

“The willingness of victims to report sexual offences is encouraging.

“Sexual assault victims can understandably find it extremely difficult to come forward and this significant increase in recorded offences gives me confidence that victims are telling us about what’s happened to them in the belief they will be listened to.

“Despite continued cuts and increased demand on the force to do more with less, we are making best use of our officers and staff and focusing on our priorities. We remain committed to keeping people safe.”