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Violent crime in Spalding area up 23%

Violent crime has risen in South Holland over the last year, amid an increase in recorded crime across England and Wales.

But with no official crime statistics yet published for the coronavirus lockdown period, police chiefs say their own figures show overall crime remains far below normal levels.

Lincolnshire Police recorded 2,635 incidents of violent crime in South Holland in the 12 months to March, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Violent crime is on the rise in South Holland. (38908410)
Violent crime is on the rise in South Holland. (38908410)

That was an increase of 23% compared to the previous year.

At 28 crimes per 1,000 people, that was slightly lower than the rate across England and Wales, which stood at 29.9.

One of the main factors behind the increase in South Holland was the rise in stalking and harassment, which rose by 52%, from 477 incidents to 724.

Offences of violence without injury were recorded 1,221 times, an increase of 28% on the previous year, and violence with injury on 689 occasions, down by 2%.

There was also one homicide – a category which includes murders and manslaughters. In the previous 12 months, there were none.

Overall, police recorded 3% more crime across England and Wales – there were almost 5.8 million offences in the year to March.

This excludes crime recorded by Greater Manchester Police, whose data was compromised after the installation of new IT software.

The increase was largely driven by rises in stalking and harassment and fraud and computer misuse, which both jumped by 12%.

However, the ONS said stalking and harassment figures may have been affected by improvements in the way police record crime, which could explain the large increase.

The ONS said crime figures were largely unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic, as the period covered was mostly pre-lockdown.

However, the National Police Chiefs' Council says its own provisional figures, which cover the four weeks to July 5, show crime has fallen by 14% compared to the same period last year.

This was the fourth update in crime trends the council has released since the beginning of lockdown restrictions, with this month's figures showing the smallest year-on-year drop so far.

Previous updates had shown recorded crime was down by 28% for the four weeks to April 12, 25% down for the four weeks to May 10, and 18% down in the four weeks to June 7.

While marked reductions were seen in residential burglaries, rape, vehicle crime and shoplifting, incidents of domestic abuse rose by 6%.

NPCC lead for crime, Chief Constable Andy Cooke, said: “The vast majority of the public continue to follow the rules in place to limit the spread of the virus, and as a result, we have seen sustained reductions in crime over the course of the lockdown period.

"It is no surprise that as more people are able to move around freely, we will begin to see movement towards previous levels. However, this is a gradual change."

Previous reductions in reports of rape appeared to be slowing, he added, suggesting they may soon return to 2019 levels.

He said: "This is likely to be a combination of increased opportunities for wider social contact and easing of restrictions, making it easier for victims to report rape and assault.

“Please report to us if you have been a victim of rape, assault or domestic abuse – wherever or whenever it happened.

"We will do all we can to investigate and there are many excellent organisations who can provide support and advice."

The total number of offences in South Holland increased by 12%, with police recording 6,521 crimes over the course of the year.

This puts the overall crime rate at 69.4 per 1,000 people, compared to a national average of 88.9.

Other crimes recorded in South Holland included:

  • 244 sexual offences, a rise of 53%;
  • 1,885 theft offences, down 12%;
  • 792 incidents of criminal damage and arson, up 21%;
  • 191 drug offences, up 14%;
  • 68 possession of weapons such as firearms or knives, up 3%;
  • 512 public order offences, up 50%.

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