The rate of crime in West Yorkshire per 1,000 people was higher than any other force in England and Wales in the year ending March 2020, according to the figures released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) today.
Despite this, West Yorkshire Police saw a three per cent decrease in the number of recorded offences from the year before and bucked the national six per cent rise in knife crime with a 10 per cent drop.There were 124 crimes per 1,000 people in the county, the data showed. The force also had the country’s highest rate of violence, with 47 violent offences recorded per 1,000 people.
The force's Chief Constable however said that a high crime rate was in part due to its crime recording strategies.
The force also saw decreases in the number of robberies (down 15 per cent), vehicle crime (8.6 per cent) and burglaries (17.4 per cent).
Crime rates in Humberside and South Yorkshire were also higher than average, with 106 and 104 offences per 1,000 people, and offences recorded by the former falling by three per cent, and the latter rising by one per cent.
North Yorkshire Police has traditionally had low rates of crime and had the second lowest of any force, the ONS revealed, with 47 offences per 1,000 people. Despite this, the force saw a four per cent rise in offences overall.
The Yorkshire & the Humber region overall saw a one per cent rise in crimes recorded from the year before, and a 29 per cent drop in the number of homicides.
The ONS figures do not include data from Greater Manchester Police, exclude fraud offences and also do not cover the period when the country was in lockdown.
In Humberside, robbery, sexual offences and theft all dropped, but offences relating to drugs and weapons rose.
North Yorkshire saw a 15 per cent rise in stalking and harassing offences, which has been attributed to more victims coming forward.
South Yorkshire Police also saw a 30 per cent rise in drug offences, but a 13 per cent drop in thefts.
West Yorkshire Police Chief Constable John Robins said: “Our local communities can be reassured that these reductions are an accurate picture of crime across our county, as a result of our determined focus and efforts to ensure crime is recorded accurately and appropriately.
“Our approach to crime data integrity has already earned us an ‘Outstanding’ grading from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Service (HMICFRS).
“Accurate crime statistics allow us to really understand the demands we face enabling us to deploy and prioritise resources to ensure the maximum possible impact.
“This is important because of the changing nature of the challenges we face with crime continuously evolving, increasing in complexity and occurring in environments which are often hidden or unseen by the public.
“We continue to ensure that our response to crime is focused upon victims, witnesses and the most vulnerable people in our communities.”
A West Yorkshire Police and Crime Panel meeting yesterday heard how the force had had a 100 per cent response rate to 999 calls over the past 32 months, which may also explain high crime figures.
Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson said: “It is extremely encouraging to see a continued reduction in overall crime across West Yorkshire and that the many positive initiatives are having a significant impact locally, beyond that of the national picture. Albeit I note that there is still much more to do in continuing to drive down overall crime trends, which have been heading in the right direction in West Yorkshire for the last two reported quarters.”
Humberside Deputy Chief Constable Chris Rowley said: “Whilst we have seen an increase in drug related offences and possession of a weapon, much of this can be attributed to the positive proactive work that we have been doing to seize drugs and take weapons off the streets. We have recently introduced our Operation Galaxy Team who are solely focused on proactively targeting those criminals that are having the biggest impact on our communities."