VIOLENT crime and sexual offences have risen sharply in the last year, according to figures released by the Office of National Statistics.

Overall crime has risen 13 per cent in West Mercia in 2017, with violent offences rising by 16 per cent and sexual offences rising by 23 per cent.

A total of 85,433 crimes were recorded in the year ending September 2017, up from 75,663 a year before.

Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said he was ‘reassured’ to see recorded crime on the increase as it showed communities have more confidence in the police but added there is still much more to do.

“I am committed to building communities where people are secure and feel secure, and my commitment to continue to protect frontline police numbers within my budget proposals is reflective of this,” he said.

“I will continue to invest to make West Mercia Police more efficient, and therefore more effective.

“Through my ongoing work around reform, the police are in a better position to respond to demand and address the needs of the public.

“This will continue as I build on what has already been achieved through further investments in technology, closer partnership working such as the proposed changes around fire governance and through grant investments to further understand and tackle the root causes of crime.

“I will continue to ensure that West Mercia Police is working efficiently and effectively to tackle existing and emerging demand, in order to protect our communities.”

The number of sexual offences recorded jumped from 2,858 in 2016 to 3,507 the following September.

Vehicle offences increased by more than 700 and an extra 100 public offences were recorded in the last year. Bicycle thefts also increased by 96.

Drug offences fell slightly from 2,545 to 2,474 between September 2016 and 2017.

Figures also showed that overall reports of crime have risen 47 per cent in 5 years.

Reports of sexual offences have risen dramatically in the last five years, rising by 186 per cent. 1,224 cases were reported in 2013 compared to 3,507 in 2017.