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Police chiefs have admitted it is “disappointing” to see a number of different types crime on the rise across Staffordshire.
Figures revealed that the previous 12 months has seen a rise in areas such as:
Rape and sexual offences
Staffordshire Police say the changing shape of crime is behind the increase, with elements such as the use of social media by criminals to threaten, harass and intimidate victims, while the force added that the increase in sexual offences is in part down to “victims continuing to have confidence to come forward with non-recent cases of rape and sexual assault”.
Chief Constable Gareth Morgan said a change to the operating model used by the police would help tackle the rise.
“It’s disappointing that Staffordshire, like most other areas of the country, has seen an increase in recorded crime,” he said.
“We’re not complacent, and is one of the reasons why I am implementing a new policing approach in the county that will see a significant investment in the number of neighbourhood police officers over the coming year.
“In particular, violent crime has seen a significant increase. The increase isn’t confined to offences that cause physical harm, however, but rather offenders using social channels to send messages intended to cause the victim distress or anxiety.
“This, together with an increase we’ve also seen in stalking offences, is central to us investing in training and technology, to speed up investigations and improve victim confidence.
“Reflecting the national knife crime picture, we are recording more offences. In Staffordshire, young males are carrying knives for self-defence or as a mark of gang membership or initiation, which is a culture that has become increasingly glamorised. To address this, we are looking at how we can more effectively target our ‘stop and search’ powers, based on good community intelligence, to deter and identify those individuals who are carrying knives.”
Another area where an increase was recorded was in ‘acquisitive crime, such as theft.
Staffordshire Police say local teams would be bolstered where evidence suggests there are a number of repeat locations and offenders.
Chief Constable Morgan, added: “The changes we are making to our policing approach will ensure we have more officers based within neighbourhoods.
“These officers will focus much more on crime prevention and early intervention, freeing-up response officers to deal with the most urgent, emergency calls.
“These changes, we will be setting out in more detail in the coming weeks, are only part of the work needed to positively impact crime figures, however. Ongoing collaboration with councils and other agencies will ensure we are doing all we collectively can to support those who are most vulnerable, as well as those who cause the most crime within Staffordshire.”