SHOCKING crime statistics have revealed rises in robbery, shoplifting, sex offences, knife crime, and theft from vehicles.

New figures from the Office for National Statistics show that Wiltshire Police recorded 43,606 crimes between March 2017 and March 2018.

Robbery is up by 30 per cent, sex offences, theft from vehicles and vehicle offences are all up by 11 per cent, shoplifting has risen by 14 per cent, and bicycle thefts have increased by 19 per cent.

Knife crime has risen nationally by 16 per cent - in Wiltshire it rose by three per cent, and violent crime rose by two per cent.

Curiously, only six per cent of people in Wiltshire have called the police claiming to have seen drink-related behaviour in public.

In general, the force saw a five per cent increase in recorded crime, which is notably lower than the the national average increase of 13 per cent.

In addition, several types of crime have been less frequent over the past year, with 15 per cent fewer drug offences, stalking and harassment down by four per cent, public offence orders down by five per cent, and theft from a person down by four per cent.

Recorded burglaries have risen by one per cent, though this is an improvement when compared to the previous report which saw a 13.2 per cent increase.

The force received almost 90,000 999 calls, an increase of 17 per cent from March 2017, and it's much faster at responding to them now: just one-and-a-half minutes on average during the last quarter compared to five per cent in the first quarter.

Angus Macpherson, Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner said: "Whilst any increase in crime is concerning, this is a trend reflected across the country and it’s reassuring to see that our crime increase is well below the national and regional average.

“Nationally, and in the county, more offences involving a knife, or a sharp instrument, are being recorded but I want to reassure residents that Wiltshire is still a safe place to live and work.

“Wiltshire Police is committed to breaking the culture behind knife crime through a variety of measures – including early intervention, continued engagement with communities and educating young people about the dangers of carrying knives and working alongside other public agencies, schools and charities.

Burglary is a high impact crime that can be devastating for victims, and it is incredibly encouraging to see that the community tasking teams are starting to have an impact and the courts are sending a clear message to offenders when sentencing.

“I have continuously challenged the Force over the past three years and I’m pleased to see that the way in which they tackle burglary is improving, and it’s important that they do not lose this momentum.

“I will continue to hold the Force to account and ensure that the very best service is provided for our local communities.

"Whilst HMICFRS consistently grade Wiltshire Police as ‘good’ there are clearly areas that need improvement.”

Assistant Chief Constable Craig Holden said: “We must not be complacent and as a force we recognise more work needs to be done around reducing vehicle crime, with officers running a number of crime prevention campaigns urging motorists to lock their vehicles and keep belongings out of sight.

“Although we see a small increase in knife crime – we recognise any rise is a concern and we take this very seriously.

"We have been carrying out and continue to carry out lots of preventative work, including interactive sessions with young people as well as providing more training for staff across all agencies on the most effective way to engage with those at greatest risk of carrying knives.

“We recognise that our ability to answer 101 calls in the summer of 2017 was not acceptable – people deserve better and as a result a significant investment was made.

"This has resulted in a major improvement to our 101 call answering times which in turn help our response times, enabling us to improve our overall service to the people of Wiltshire.

“Any rise in burglary is still too much and I want to reassure people that we continue to work at community level to prevent residential burglaries and robustly target offenders who cause problems in Wiltshire."