South Yorkshire crime rate: New figures suggest crime down but drug offences on the up
New figures suggest crime in South Yorkshire has fallen over the last 12 months but drug offences are on the rise.
Office of National Statistics figures released on Thursday show an overall five per cent reduction in crime in South Yorkshire, with thefts down 21 per cent, burglaries and knife crime both down 15 per cent and robberies down 14 per cent.
There was also a slight decrease in sexual offences.
But in the 12 months to June, compared to the previous year, drug offences increased by 21 per cent.
The hike is being linked to an increase in ‘targeted work’ by South Yorkshire Police to tackle gangs and drug supply.
Alan Billings, South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “It is good news to see a reduction in the number of crimes in areas such as theft, residential burglary and knife crime and these are the areas of crime that the public often tell me they are most concerned about.
“I am particularly pleased to see the fall in knife crime because this is not often the public perception. I want to thank those officers whose hard work lies behind many of these statistics.
“However, whilst I welcome the figures, I am also cautious about comparing them to previous years as we are still working to understand the extent to which the pandemic has affected criminal activity over the past year and in what ways.
“The increase in drug offences seems concerning, but in part it will indicate that the police have been very proactive in tackling drug dealers and those involved in the drugs trade. A significant number of disruption operations have been undertaken to tackle gang-related crime and disrupt serious criminal activity, and this will have put up the number of recorded crimes.”
He added: “I have invested more funds into South Yorkshire Police to enable them to recruit more officers across all areas but also to establish a team to specifically tackle those serious and often violent offenders who make their money from supplying drugs.
“More crimes are now being detected and more people being prosecuted and often receiving lengthy prison sentences and this is what the public expect.”