Possession of weapons offences rise by 50% in Essex, figures reveal
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Essex has seen a dramatic rise in possession of weapons offences over the last 12 months - increasing by 50% on the year before, new figures reveal.
According to a study by the Office of National Statistics, the county saw an 11% rise in total recorded crime, excluding fraud offences, between December 2016 and December 2017.
Across England and Wales total recorded crime rose by 15%.
Although some offences in Essex such as burglary, shoplifting and theft from the person have reduced on last year - down 2%, 3% and 4% respectively - possession of weapons has soared by 50% - a total of 1,826 offences recorded last year.
This compares to a national rise of 25%.
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Robbery has also increased, up by 34%, as have sexual offences, which have risen by 22%
Meanwhile, violence against the person has risen by 20% and violence with injury up 10%.
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Stalking and harassment offences have increased by 41% on the previous year, compared to a rise across England and Wales of 33%. Bicycle thefts and vehicle offences have also risen, both by 12%.
In total, 130,757 crimes were recorded by the force.
A spokeswoman for Essex Police said: “Essex Police saw an increase in total recorded crime of 11 per cent between 2016 and 2017. We can’t ignore the fact that these figures have risen but Essex is a safe county and the increase in offences is below the national and regional levels.
“In other crime areas Essex has bucked the trend with decreases in burglary, theft and shoplifting, despite the country and our region seeing rises. The way crime is committed is constantly changing and we must ensure that our focus is on the crimes which cause the greatest harm.
“We are recruiting 150 more frontline officers by the end of 2019, to fight and prevent crime in our communities.
“We have seen an increase in reports of violent crime and this reflects the national picture.
“We know how concerned our communities are about violent crime and tackling it is one of our top priorities.
“We are committed to steering people away from the culture of carrying weapons.”
She added the rise in reported sexual offences, stalking and harassment is often the result of victims feeling more confident in reporting it to police.