Revealed: 6,300 frauds committed against victims in Hampshire

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CRIME figures published for the first time reveal 6,300 frauds were committed on people in the county in the last year.

Data from the Office for National Statistics show that 6,361 frauds were reported to Action Fraud in Hampshire between April 2015 and March.

It is the first time that fraud is included in the Crime Survey for England and Wales, on which the figures are based. The number of frauds based on this totalled 222,502 in England and Wales.

The ONS said there was generally less variation in fraud rates by police areas, although rates in London and the south were higher than in northern areas.

Det Insp Thomas Bradshaw said police have access to a database of frauds and have a dedicated economic crime unit to investigate fraud and cyber crime.

He added: ‘Fraud is a national problem, and offenders are often located across the country and abroad.

‘This means that investigations involving Hampshire victims are frequently dealt with by other forces.

‘Hampshire Constabulary supports all vulnerable victims in the local area through Operation Signature – a neighbourhood policing initiative to protect the most vulnerable from fraud.’

Shocking figures also show the number of offences in Hampshire that involve cruelty to children have risen to 926 in 2015-16, up from 69 in 2012-13.

An NSPCC spokesman said: ‘These are grim figures which show that the number of offences in Hampshire involving cruelty to children and young people have increased dramatically.

‘Recent investigations have exposed a dark underbelly of abuse that went on for far too long with the impact only now becoming tragically clear.’

Police-recorded figures show there were 585 knife crimes, including six attempted murders and nine rapes or sexual assaults. Figures also show 40,000 crimes have gone unsolved.

Det Chief Supt Ben Snuggs said: ‘Recorded crime numbers increased this year in line with our force projections.

‘Much of this increase stems from the improvements we have made in relation to the accuracy of our crime recording.’

He added: ‘I would want to reassure local people that an increase in total crime recorded does not necessarily mean there is more crime on our streets or in our homes.’