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Crime in Kent up by more than a third, according to Office for National Statistics

Crime in Kent has gone up by more than a third in the past year - the highest increase in the country.

Total recorded crime, excluding fraud, has soared by 35%, increasing from 131,575 reported incidents to 177,187.

Sexual offences more than doubled between March 2017 and March 2018, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

Crime in Kent has soared over the past year
Crime in Kent has soared over the past year

Violence against people also increased by 49% across the same timeframe, and offences involving the possession of a weapon are up 58%.

The data shows that, while Kent did not have the highest number of crimes last year, reports increased at a rate higher than even the capital.

Stalking and harassment has also risen by 93% - something partially due to a change in the way offences are reported.

Reports of robbery are up 35%, and there has been an unbelievable 211% rise in public order offences - behaviours alleged to have caused disruption or offence to the public.

Both theft and burglary offences have increased by 10%, but there has been a two percent drop in drug offences.

Illustrative graphic(3187796)
Illustrative graphic(3187796)

It comes after KentOnline revealed last month that thousands of crimes reported to police in April have been left unsolved.

Knife crime in the county has also more than doubled over the past five years, with high-profile cases such as the murder of Kyle Yule adding to the national debate into youth violence.

The family of the popular teenager has since launched a campaign to push for tougher sentences for those convicted of knife crime offences.

Police in Kent say the staggering rise in reported incidents is partially down to the way crime is now recorded and reported.

Kyle Yule was stabbed to death in Gillingham on Friday, October 6 last year
Kyle Yule was stabbed to death in Gillingham on Friday, October 6 last year

The force's deputy chief constable Tony Blaker said: "As a force we are dedicated to providing the best service possible to the people of Kent and ensuring victims of crime and the most vulnerable are at the heart of what we do.

"Whilst this rise can look concerning it is important to note that a large proportion of these increases are due to improvements in crime recording.

"Our officers and staff follow a rigorous approach to recording all offences, with many incidents now being recorded as multiple crimes.

"This is in line with national standards and has provided a clearer picture of crime in Kent.

Deputy Chief Constable Tony Blaker. Picture: Andy Payton
Deputy Chief Constable Tony Blaker. Picture: Andy Payton

"We have also seen improvements in the public’s confidence to report crime and increased third party reporting; alongside the provision of online reporting via our website.

"Both in Kent and nationally these factors have played a significant part in rising crime reports.

"However, we are not complacent about crime levels even if analysis suggests changes to recording and reporting have affected these figures.

"Our focus is and always will be to ensure the county remains a safe place and that we deliver a first class service to victims and witnesses of all crime.

"Additional funding from the Police and Crime Commissioner will strengthen this capability with the recruitment of up to 200 more police officers to tackle crime across the county."

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