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Calls for Kent police and crime commissioner Ann Barnes to explain rise in crime figures for Sittingbourne and Sheppey

According to the UKCrimeStats website, 11,522 offences were committed across the area from February 2013 to February 2014.

It represents a 4% increase on the previous 12 months with Kent overall bucking the trend in terms of national figures.

Kent Police commissioner Ann Barnes.

Kent Police commissioner Ann Barnes.

The latest Crime Survey for England and Wales showed between September 2012 and 2013, it was the only county to report an increase in crime (7%) while the number of offences countrywide fell by 15%.

Kemsley ward councillor Mike Whiting (Con) said: “It’s alarming that the figures in Kent are higher than those nationally, and appear even higher during certain periods in Sittingbourne and Sheppey.

“It would help if the police and crime commissioner could come and explain what she’s doing to address this.”

The contrast in Kent’s crime figures marks a change in the way its numbers are recorded.

Cllr Mike Whiting

Cllr Mike Whiting

Last year, a report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) found one in 10 crimes were inaccurately registered by the force in 2012.

On Thursday, HMIC announced it would inspect 13 police forces using the same criteria it applied for Kent, which led to suggestions that a different national crime picture will emerge. A Kent Police spokesman said: “The changes in practices since the HMIC inspection on recording crimes means that all offences in any incident are now recorded as separate crimes.

“Previous recording practices meant only the primary crime was recorded.”

Last year, 104,359 crimes were recorded in Kent, 60 reported offences per 1,000 people.

Kent Police Headquarters, Sutton Road, Maidstone

Kent Police Headquarters, Sutton Road, Maidstone

Of the 810 crimes recorded in Sittingbourne and Sheppey in February, 131 were violence-related.

This represents a 54% increase on February 2013 when 85 violent crimes were recorded.

Commissioner Ann Barnes said she would be delighted to visit local councillors, and was confident that Kent’s crime figures “are as accurate as they possibly can be.”

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