West Midlands only force area to see crime increase as violent attacks surge
The region saw crime go up by four per cent over the period, with violence against the person surging by 34 per cent after 122,875 violent offences were recorded.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show violent attacks now make up 46 per cent of all recorded crime in the West Midlands, which the force largely puts down to a rise in recorded domestic abuse.
The other 38 force areas in England all saw crime fall, including Staffordshire Police where it was down by 15 per cent, and West Mercia Police, where a 16 per cent drop was recorded.
The figures reflect a period when national lockdowns and Covid restrictions were in place.
According to the figures, in the West Midlands Police area stalking and harassment went up by 96 per cent and violence without injury rose by 29 per cent.
Weapons possession offences went up by 18 per cent, public order offences were up 51 per cent, and drug offences rose by five per cent.
Fraud also saw a steep rise in the West Midlands, with Action Fraud, the national fraud and cybercrime reporting centre, reporting a 28 per cent rise in the region to 17,860.
The majority of other crime decreased, including robbery (down 21 per cent), burglary (down 25 per cent) and criminal damage and arson (down 40 per cent).
There were 4,562 crimes recorded involving a knife or other sharp instrument, down nine per cent on the previous year.
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, Simon Foster, said he was pleased to see reductions in some crime areas.
But he added: “Government cuts since 2010 have placed considerable pressures on the ability of West Midlands Police to respond to the recording of dramatic increases in stalking and domestic violence.
“Public order offences are on the rise too and I’m concerned this situation will worsen as the schools close for summer and lockdown restrictions ease.”
Mr Foster added that he would do all he can to protect women and girls from violence and was doubling the number of new domestic and sexual abuse specialists at the force.Read more:Man taken to hospital with life-threatening head injuries after fight‘Boy Next Door Killer’ who murdered Ashton Kutcher’s date given death sentenceKnifeman who choked and stabbed victim jailed for 12 years
The ONS said it was “difficult to determine” the levels of domestic abuse across the country using police data because of changes in the way crimes are reported.
But it added: “Data from victim services suggests that experiences of domestic abuse may have intensified during periods of national lockdown and that victims faced difficulties in safely seeking support under these conditions.”
In England, the ONS says crime went down by 13 per cent overall.