Crime in Portsmouth, Gosport, Fareham and Havant has increased, according to new figures

VIOLENT crime has risen in Portsmouth over the last year, amid an increase in recorded crime across England and Wales.

By Steve Deeks
Tuesday, 21st July 2020, 7:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 21st July 2020, 9:27 pm

But with no official crime statistics yet published for the coronavirus lockdown period, police chiefs say their own figures show overall crime remains far below normal levels.

Hampshire Constabulary recorded 9,963 incidents of violent crime in Portsmouth in the 12 months to March, according to the Office for National Statistics.

That was an increase of four per cent compared to the previous year.

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At 46.3 crimes per 1,000 people, that was higher than the rate across England and Wales, which stood at 29.9.

There were also three homicides, which include murders and manslaughters, up from none in the previous 12 months.

The total number of offences in Portsmouth fell by one per cent, with police recording 25,477 crimes over the course of the year.

This puts the overall crime rate at 118.4 per 1,000 people, compared to a national average of 88.9.

One of the main factors behind the increase in Portsmouth was the rise in stalking and harassment, which rose by 33 per cent, from 1,620 incidents to 2,150.

In Gosport there was a five per cent increase in violent crime after 2,677 incidents were recorded including three homicides - an increase of two on the previous year.

Fareham saw 2,355 incidents of violent crime, which was an eight per cent increase on the previous year.

There were 4,169 violent offences, a decrease of one per cent, in Havant in the same period.

At 84 crimes per 1,000 people, that was lower than the rate across England and Wales, which stood at 89.

Violent crime has risen in Winchester over the last year by 17 per cent with 2,639 incidents recorded, despite an overall drop in offences.

Violent crime also increased by five per cent from the previous year in East Hampshire with 2,117 incidents there.

Overall, police recorded three per cent more crime across England and Wales – there were almost 5.8m offences in the year to March.

This excludes crime recorded by Greater Manchester Police, whose data was compromised after the installation of new IT software.

The ONS said these figures were largely unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic, as the period covered was mostly pre-lockdown.

However, the National Police Chiefs' Council says its own provisional figures, which cover the four weeks to July 5, show crime has fallen by 14 per cent compared to the same period last year.

This was the fourth update in crime trends the council has released since the beginning of lockdown restrictions, with this month's figures showing the smallest year-on-year drop so far.

Previous updates had shown recorded crime was down by 28 per cent for the four weeks to April 12, 25 cent down for the four weeks to May 10, and 18 cent down in the four weeks to June 7.

While marked reductions were seen in residential burglaries, rape, vehicle crime and shoplifting, incidents of domestic abuse rose by 6 per cent.

NPCC lead for crime, chief constable Andy Cooke, said: ‘The vast majority of the public continue to follow the rules in place to limit the spread of the virus, and as a result, we have seen sustained reductions in crime over the course of the lockdown period.

‘It is no surprise that as more people are able to move around freely, we will begin to see movement towards previous levels. However, this is a gradual change.’

Previous reductions in reports of rape appeared to be slowing, he added, suggesting they may soon return to 2019 levels.

He said: ‘This is likely to be a combination of increased opportunities for wider social contact and easing of restrictions, making it easier for victims to report rape and assault.

‘Please report to us if you have been a victim of rape, assault or domestic abuse – wherever or whenever it happened.

‘We will do all we can to investigate and there are many excellent organisations who can provide support and advice.’

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