Drug crime in Central Bedfordshire has increased by almost a quarter, latest police figures show
Drug crime in Central Bedfordshire has increased by almost a quarter, according to the latest police recorded figures.
There were 261 drug related offences in the 12 months to September 2018, according to data from the Office for National Statistics.
This includes trafficking and dealing substances such as heroin and cocaine, as well as possession crimes.
That figure is up by 23% on the previous year, when 212 incidents were recorded.
The statistics are based on crimes reported to the police, and the ONS urges caution in interpreting some of these figures.
Helen Ross, from the ONS Centre for Crime and Justice, said: "In recent decades we've seen the overall level of crime falling, but in the last year, it remained level.
"Burglary, shoplifting and computer misuse are decreasing but others, such as vehicle offences and robbery are rising.
"We have also seen increases in some types of 'lower-volume, high-harm' violence including offences involving knives or sharp instruments."
Overall, police recorded crime in Central Bedfordshire increased in the 12 months to September 2018.
Over the period, 17,580 crimes were recorded, up by 18% on 2016-17.
That means there was a rate of 63 crimes per 1,000 residents during 2017-18, below the England and Wales average of 85.
Gun and knife possession offences in Central Bedfordshire rose by one to 79 incidents.
There has been one homicide, a murder or manslaughter. There were four cases of death or injury by dangerous driving.
Across England and Wales, the number of recorded homicides rose by 14%, to the highest level since 2008. These figures excluded people who died in terror attacks.
In Central Bedfordshire, theft, one of the most high volume crimes, slightly increased by 1%.
Commenting on the national figures, Chief Constable Bill Skelly, of the National Police Chiefs' Council, said: "Rising crime, increased terrorist activity and fewer police officers have put serious strain on the policing we offer to the public.
"We are determining the additional capabilities and investment we need to drive down violence and catch more criminals - and we will make the case at the next Government Spending Review."
Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman said: "These statistics show that your chance of being a victim ofcrime remains low, but we recognise that certain crimes - particularly violent crime - have increased, and we are taking action to address this."
Criminal damage in Central Bedfordshire, which includes arson and vandalising cars and houses, has gone up, from 2,145 incidents in 2016-17, to 2,392 in the latest figures.
While violence with injury, which includes assault, GBH and wounding, has risen, this could be due to improved police recording.
Similarly sexual offences are hard to judge as many more victims are now coming forward due to a series of high profile cases.
In Central Bedfordshire, there were 437 incidents recorded between October 2017 and September 2018, a 30% rise on the previous year, when 337 crimes were reported.
There were also 1,109 cases of stalking and harassment reported over the same period.
John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation, commented: "Society just isn’t as safe as it once was, and although the police service is doing everything within its power, we are swimming against the tide."