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Total crime up in Hampshire but down in Dorset as sex offences continue to rise in both counties

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CRIME rose slightly in Hampshire but continued to fall in Dorset, according to latest official figures showing sex offences and stalking still increasing in both counties.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) data for the year ending September 2021 revealed Hampshire’s total recorded crime rate was up 2% from the previous 12 months, while Dorset’s was down for its seventh consecutive quarter – this time by 5%.

By comparison, forces across England and Wales saw an average 1% drop in total recorded crime.

Crime rates in Hampshire and Dorset. Office for National Statistics. Stock image (45245707)
Crime rates in Hampshire and Dorset. Office for National Statistics. Stock image (45245707)

Stalking and harassment accounted for Hampshire’s biggest rise as it had in figures previously released by ONS for the year ending June 2021 – this time being up 28%.

Sex offences rose 14%, with public order up 17% and drug offences up 8%.

Violence against the person offences also rose 8%.

Non-residential burglary saw Hampshire’s biggest drop (22%), while robbery was down 18%, and theft from person by 13%.

Acknowledging overall recorded crime’s “slight increase”, Assistant Chief Constable Craig Dibdin attributed the stalking and harassment rise to efforts to encourage victims to come forward.

He highlighted Hampshire’s “nationally-recognised” stalking clinic which reviews reported cases and works to tackle perpetrators and protect victims.

Responding to the increased sex offence reports, Mr Dibdin said: "We take reports of all sexual offences extremely seriously, and we will always do our utmost to thoroughly investigate and identify the person responsible.

"There is still far more that needs to be done to tackle this, and we are prioritising the production of quality case files for investigations, supporting women throughout the criminal justice process, and building up trust in our service for them, getting justice for and making public spaces safer.”

He added: "We will continue to work hard across our communities, with a focus on crimes that cause the most harm, and will strive each day to provide the best service we can and bring offenders to justice."

Theft from person offences were Dorset’s biggest success, being down 33%, while violence against the person dropped 5%, weapons possession fell 23%; and drug offences were down 15%.

Being 12% up, public order was Dorset’s biggest increase; with sex offences and stalking and harassment each up 8%.

Deputy Chief Constable Sam de Reya welcomed the figures but acknowledged Covid-19’s continued effect.

Dorset Police Deputy Chief Constable Sam de Reya (51799750)
Dorset Police Deputy Chief Constable Sam de Reya (51799750)

“The force continues to focus on crime that affects the most vulnerable members of our communities,” she said.

“We remain committed to reducing and preventing sexual offences, including rape, and work closely with our partners to improve the journey for victims and increase positive outcomes.”

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