Gun and knife possession doubles in Colchester, crime figures reveal

Weapons possession offences have risen in Colchester Picture: KATIE COLLINS/PRESS ASSOCIATION

Weapons possession offences have risen in Colchester Picture: KATIE COLLINS/PRESS ASSOCIATION - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

The number of people caught with guns and knives in Colchester has almost doubled in the last year, new crime figures reveal.

According to data from the Office of National Statistics, there were 120 weapons possession offences recorded between April 2017 and March 2018 – up 93.5% on 2016-17, when 62 incidents were recorded.

Theft in the town also rose by 6%, while drugs-related offences increased by 27.4%.

However, the rate of crime per 1,000 residents during 2017-18 was 80 – below the England and Wales average of 82.

In Tendring there were 12,466 reported crimes between April 2017 and March 2018 – up 10.8% on the previous year, when 11,249 incidents were recorded. Theft increased by 25%, while drugs-related offences rose by 2.7%.

The district has a rate of crime of 86 crimes per 1,000 residents, slightly higher than the England and Wales average.

A spokesman for Essex Police said they had invested in specialist teams to combat violent crime and sexual offences, and that 150 more officers would be on the streets in the next year.

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He said: “Today’s crime statistics show that some types of crime are increasing nationally, including in north Essex.

“One third of all violent crime are not happening on streets but are domestic violence offences happening in homes, but the rise in other violent crime is being tackled by teams like our Operation Raptor teams.

“Between January and December 2017, the North Operation Raptor team - which covers Chelmsford, Colchester, Tendring, Braintree and Uttlesford – locked up drug dealers in their area for a collective total of more than 109 years.

“During 2017 the team also seized £46,000 worth of Class A and B drugs, seized £25,000 in criminal cash, seized 47 weapons and arrested 106 people suspected of being involved in drug and gang crime.

“Every crime is bad for victims to experience and causes fear in communities, but the data also shows how rare they are.

“Around nine people in every 1,000 people living in Colchester experienced violence with injury crime in the last year, with just 0.6 possession of weapons offences recorded for every 1,000 people in the borough.”

He added that in Uttlesford, there has been a 4% reduction in burglaries - the only police area in the east of England to see a decrease.

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