Police are warning that crime could be on the rise after decades of decline – despite official figures showing there were nearly 1,000 fewer offences in Leeds last year.
The latest statistics show there were 59,660 crimes in the city in 2014-15, two per cent lower than the 60,650 the previous year.
But West Yorkshire Police said crime rates were higher in the first four months of 2015 than for the same period last year.
West Yorkshire’s police chief has warned a 20-year fall in crime could be coming to an end despite figures suggesting it is still in decline.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed yesterday the force recorded 1,600 fewer crimes in 2014-15 than the previous year. In Leeds, abut 1,000 fewer crimes were recorded.
The numbers continue a trend that has seen crime steadily declining since the mid 1990s.
But West Yorkshire Police has admitted that there were 16.5 per cent more recorded crimes during the period January-April than the same four months of 2014.
Bosses claim that is largely because they have tightened procedures for recording crime – and are therefore logging incidents that might previously have slipped through the net.
But Temporary Chief Constable Dee Collins said there had also been “a slight actual rise in crime after a sustained period of crime reduction lasting many years”.
She said: “West Yorkshire Police officers and staff work incredibly hard to serve and protect the public, but as our resources and those of our partner agencies continue to diminish, that job becomes increasingly difficult.”
According to the ONS figures, burglaries, thefts and vehicle crimes all fell across West Yorkshire last year.
But sex offences were up nearly 50 per cent and violent crimes rose 24 per cent.
Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson said the increases were “concerning”.