THE NUMBER of recorded crimes in West Yorkshire rose by more than a fifth in a year, according to the latest statistics.
Figures released today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show there were 220,379 crimes recorded by the county’s police force in the 12 months up to September 2016.
This was a 22.2 per cent increase in recorded crime when compared to the previous year, something the force has stressed was not the same as the risk of becoming a victim of crime.
West Yorkshire Police said the risk of being a victim had only increased by four per cent and it had been performing better than average in the separate Crime Survey for England and Wales, which measures crime by asking the public about their experiences of crime.
The significant increase in total crimes was largely attributed to work over the past year to improve the way reported offences are recorded.
Chief Constable Dee Collins said: “Being a victim of any crime is a traumatic experience and providing a good service to them is our top priority.
Being a victim of any crime is a traumatic experience and providing a good service to them is our top priority.Chief Constable Dee Collins, West Yorkshire Police
“We can only do that if we are confident that we have a comprehensive picture. We have made great efforts to ensure that crimes are properly recorded, investigated and then victims supported.
“While the latest crime statistics may show a rise, I want to reassure our communities that the risk of being a victim of crime has not increased by 22.2 per cent – the actual increase in the risk of being a victim of crime is around four per cent.”
“Many other police forces are at different stages in making the changes to their crime recording and so may have lower figures.”
The ONS figures show that recorded crime in the county was equivalent to 96.6 crimes, excluding fraud, for every 1,000 people – the highest number of any force in England and Wales.
This was compared to 63.2 for Nottinghamshire, 76.7 for South Yorkshire and 83.1 for Greater Manchester, which are all forces serving a similarly sized population and demographic.
The most commonly recorded offence for the 12 months was theft, with a total of 99,570 offences.
Public order offences increased by the largest proportion (78 per cent) and the only decline was in non-domestic burglary (six per cent).
West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson said: “West Yorkshire Police have been at the forefront of improving crime recording practises and have been praised by the Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) for their work. However, these changes have and will continue to have an impact on the figures making them look disproportionately high until a new base level is achieved and other police forces reach the same standards.
“The real rise in overall crime within West Yorkshire is actually around four per cent and I will ensure that West Yorkshire Police continue to ethically record crimes and carry out full analysis so the public and our partners can understand the true picture.
“The current data shows that the risk of household crime in West Yorkshire as of June 2016 stood at 10.7 per cent and personal crime 2.9 per cent, which have both been improving consistently over the past few years.
“However, crime statistic can only ever give an overview and are not reflective of the incredible effort West Yorkshire’s officers and staff put into keeping us all safe day in day out.”
The force is currently recruiting new police officers and police community support officers.
It said it was on track to recruit more than 500 news officers in 2016/17, around half of which were new posts.