Surge in violence fuels above-average rise in recorded crime in West Yorkshire

Violent crime has seen a sharp rise in West Yorkshire, official figures show.
Violent crime has seen a sharp rise in West Yorkshire, official figures show.

RECORDED crime in West Yorkshire increased by more than a tenth in the past year, fuelled by large rises in violent offences.

A lack of funding for police forces is “making it ever more difficult to meet demand and effectively reduce crime”, according to the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson.

He said: “Whilst it is uncomfortable to see any increased risk of being a victim of crime in West Yorkshire, the trend does generally match the experience nationally which tells a story around the pressures and continued underfunding of policing.

"However, the overall rate of increase has slowed in West Yorkshire, which may be a sign that some of the local ongoing interventions, campaigns and operations are having an impact.”

Recorded crime in West Yorkshire rose by 11 per cent in the year to June, higher than the nine per cent rise seen across England and Wales, figures released today by the Office for National Statistics show.

There was a 19 per cent rise in violent crimes which caused injuries across the county and a 27 per cent rise in violent crimes which did not cause injuries.

Mr Burns-Williamson said he was using money confiscated from criminals to fund anti-violence initiatives.

He said: “What has to be recognised, however, is that the continued lack of adequate Government funding is compounding the problems and making it ever more difficult to meet demand and effectively reduce crime for policing and our partners.”

West Yorkshire's Chief Constable, Dee Collins, said while better recording of crime accounted for some of the rise, the force believed there had also been an actual rise in crime of six per cent in the past year.

She said: "The rate of increase in crime may be continuing to slow but we continue to experience a huge rise in demand for our services, which remains a major challenge.

"While the force continues to answer 999 calls quickly, the overall increase in calls for service this year has at times impacted on our ability to answer 101 calls in a timely fashion."

Policing Minister Nick Hurd said the Government planned to give police extra powers to tackle knife crime.

He added: “We also recognise the demand on police, which is why the Home Secretary has said he will prioritise police funding in the Spending Review.”