Thousands more crimes committed in Hampshire – and police blame drug gangs

KNIFE crime has increased along with burglary and violent attacks, new data published today has shown.

Hampshire saw a rise in police-recorded crime to 160,002 in the 12 months to June – up from 156,995 offences in the previous year.

Knife crime is on the rise again. Picture: Shutterstock

Knife crime is on the rise again. Picture: Shutterstock

Homicides increased from 11 to 19, the Office for National Statistics' data release has revealed.

Knife crime went up to 827 offences from 754 the previous 12 months.

This has shot up from just 451 knife-related crimes seven years ago.

Violence rose to 53,790 offences, up from 51,684.

Hampshire police said while the increases are likely linked to a hike in county lines drugs gangs peddling crack cocaine and heroin on the streets.

READ MORE: Eight arrested in Portsmouth as police clamp down on drugs

Detective Superintendent Paul Barton said: ‘We recognise the increase in recorded crimes in Hampshire as shown by the statistics released today by the ONS.

‘Notably, the figures show an increase in reports of drug offences, knife crime, and violence against the person.

‘These crime types, while they can be looked at independently, are in many cases linked as we see an increase in drug-related harm and county lines drug trafficking in our communities.

‘In Hampshire, we are committed to tackling the most serious violence and use of knives in the county, which is largely as a result of this drug-related crime.

‘The majority of perpetrators involved in this activity are known offenders who inflict violence on one another due to their involvement in the illicit drugs trade.’

Drug offences went up to 3,667 offences in the year to June, up from 3,549.

It comes as a major crime survey in Portsmouth found 35 per cent of 1,200 people questioned were victims of crime.

This was up from 18 per cent in 2016, the last time the community safety survey was carried out. 

Sex crimes rose from 5,199 to 5,528.

Hampshire’s assistant police and crime commissioner Enzo Riglia said: ‘Tackling the increasing violence within our communities in the long term is not just a matter for policing but one that must be shared.

‘It is just as much about tackling the root causes of crime as tackling the crime and the consequences of that. I continue to work with all community safety partners to develop ways to stop and reverse this upward trend.

‘I know we all agree that any increase in crime is unacceptable. 

‘However, this has been a trend I have been watching closely over recent months, and I am pleased that the constabulary’s stepped-up operational activity in response to violent crime and drug offences means that the increase in crime across my area is way below regional and national levels.’