Drug-related crime rises by more than a quarter in Northampton

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Drug-related crime in Northampton rose by more than a quarter last year, according to the latest police statistics.

Officers recorded 690 drug related offences in the 12 months to September 2018, says the latest Office for National Statistics data

This includes trafficking and dealing substances such as heroin and cocaine, as well as possession crimes.

That figure is up by 28% on the previous year, when 540 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 Northampton slightly increased in the 12 months to September 2018.

Over the period, 23,506 crimes were recorded, up by 3% on 2016-17.

That means there is a crime for at least one in every 10 residents in Northampton, well above average for England and Wales.

Gun and knife possession offences in Northampton rose by 24 to 257 incidents.

There were six homicides, which are murders or manslaughters.

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 Northampton, theft, one of the most high volume crimes, decreased by 7%.

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.”

Criminal damage in Northampton, which includes arson and vandalising cars and houses, has gone down, from 2,875 incidents in 2016-17, to 2,643 in the latest figures.

Violence with injury crimes, which include assault, GBH and wounding, have dropped, however they are tough to judge as police recording in this area has improved.

Similarly sexual offences are hard to judge as many more victims are now coming forward due to a series of high profile cases.

In Northampton, there were 920 incidents recorded between October 2017 and September 2018, a 20% rise on the previous year, when 764 crimes were reported.

There were also 947 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.”