Crime is rising in Norfolk with huge increases in thefts, robberies and knife crime

PUBLISHED: 08:03 21 July 2017 | UPDATED: 17:11 21 July 2017

Police officers on patrol in Norwich.

Police officers on patrol in Norwich.

Archant Norfolk Photographic é 2011

Crime is rising in Norfolk and Suffolk, according to new figures.

Crime is rising in Norfolk which, according to new figures, has seen big increases in knife crime and robberies.

The Office for National Statistics crime survey figures, published on Thursday (July 20) show the total number of crimes reported to and recorded by the police rose by 10pc between April 2016 and March 2017 to almost five million.

In Norfolk, where there were 50,394 recorded crimes from April 1 2016 to March 31 2017, a rise of almost 6pc.

Despite the rise in crime recorded by police, the Crime Survey of England and Wales, based on people’s experiences of crime, showed a 7pc drop.

Norfolk’s deputy chief constable Nick Dean said despite the rise, Norfolk remains one of the top 10 safest counties in the country.

He said: “The overall number of crimes the force has to deal with has risen and there are a range of reasons for this.

“This demand for our services has seen a rise in calls into our Control Room, averaging at about 350,000 calls every year, and it is clear from analysis of these that there is a higher demand for incidents linked to vulnerability. I see this as a positive in that more people have the confidence to come forward and report crimes to us.“

There was a massive rise in possession of weapon offences.

They increased by 31pc in the county to 371. But in Yarmouth they increased by an even larger amount - 56pc.

Mr Dean acknowledged there had been a rise in knife crime but insisted it was a priority for the force which is currently taking part in a national week-long operation to tackle the issue.

He said: “There has been a rise in knife crime in Norfolk with 316 serious offences involving a knife or sharp instrument recorded this year compared to 144 last year. While this is in line with national trends, I appreciate the concern people will have around these figures. The rise was expected as a result of the pro-active work undertaken in Operation Gravity, launched to specifically target violent offences involving knives by those involved in illegal drug activity.

The other type of crime seeing a steep increase was robbery, with a 25pc rise in the county.

It leapt by 39pc in Norwich where 196 of the 383 robberies took place.

Mr Dean said: “The rise in the number of the robberies in the county from 306 to 383 can, in the main, be attributed to offenders in the Norwich area with 25pc of known suspects in this category aged under 18. Our research into the increase has highlighted this as an area of concern and we are working to tackle this behaviour head on. For example, we know that four men were responsible for 14 robberies and are currently in prison.

“Sexual offences also continue to rise, from 1,711 offences to 1,920 offences, and many of these relate to non-recent offences. The confidence victims have found to come forward and talk to us can only be encouraged and our work in this area sees us developing partnerships with many different types of organisations who can assist us with shaping the best approach.”

Norfolk’s police and crime commissioner, Lorne Green, said: “As residents of Norfolk, we should be reassured that we continue to live in one of the safest counties in England and Wales. However, although we have seen a reduction in some categories of crime, overall recorded crime has increased from the previous year as has also been reflected nationally.

“There could be a number of reasons for this and, in some areas, a rise could represent success for police and partners through proactive policing campaigns or improved recording.”

In Suffolk 280,000 calls were taken with around 46,000 recorded as crimes from April 1 2016 to March 31 2017.

There was an increase in robberies with a 21pc increase to 294, and violence against the person up 18pc with 14,388 recorded.

Deputy Chief Constable Steve Jupp said: “Most forces are seeing a rise in recorded crime so we are not alone in this fact, but the public can feel reassured that we remain amongst the safest places in the country.”

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