Crime figures released today by Thames Valley Police for 2015/16 shows that there were 129,611 crimes reported across Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire from April 2015 until the end of March 2016. This is the first increase in overall crime in 10 years.

The increase is reflected nationally (ONS Crime Survey of England and Wales*), and is, largely, attributed to a change in recording practices as set out by the Home Office.

Taking a longer view, overall crime levels in Thames Valley remain low compared with five and ten years ago. There were 67,000 fewer crimes reported this year than in 2005/2006, and 39,000 fewer than in 2010/2011.

In addition our overall calls to our enquiry centres have reduced compared with the previous year down by around 8,500 (-1.5%) with calls for service in respect of crimes falling by over 10,500 (-8.9%).

Violence against the person has increased by 30.3 per cent on last year to 28,319.

Our calls to service for violent crime are down 12.5 per cent.

We believe that this does not reflect an actual increase in violence in the Thames Valley.  This is supported by the most recent Crime Survey of England and Wales (CSEW*) which says “the estimate for violent crime showed no statistically significant change compared with the previous year’s survey”.

Last year the Thames Valley had the 7th lowest level of recorded violent crime per 1,000 population in England and Wales. We are confident that this position has not changed.

This is supported by the latest Crime Survey of England and Wales* release of crime statistics for England and Wales.

We have seen a 21.4 per cent increase in recording of sexual offences, with a 37.3 per cent increase in report of rape.

We have also seen increased reports of domestic abuse related crime with a 19.5 per cent increase.

Alongside our community partners we are continuing to work hard to encourage reporting of domestic abuse and sexual offences.

This has led to the growing confidence of victims to come forward to report incidents particularly in relation to sexual offences and domestic abuse.

This has been supported by Thames Valley campaigns such as #consentiseverything and #behindcloseddoors

We have seen an increase of over 490 prosecutions in relation to domestic abuse on last year to 3,193.

While we have seen an increase in the number of hate crimes we believe that incidents remain unreported. We expect to see further rises in this category of crime in the future as the public gains greater confidence in how this type of crime is dealt with.

Our victim satisfaction rate in relation to this crime type has increased by around 5 per cent to 81.1 per cent overall.

Dwelling burglary continues to fall and is at 42 year low with just 4,379 in 2015/16 a drop of 1.5 per cent on the previous year.

Burglary (non-dwelling) has dropped by 3.9 per cent.

Robbery has increased by 7.6 per cent on last year, but has fallen by over 50% compared with the levels seen 5 and 10 years ago.

Anti-social behaviour has fallen significantly in the past five years. There were over 44,000 less incidents this year compared with 2010/11, with just 34,404 recorded this year.

Deputy Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police John Campbell, said: “I am proud of the work our officers are doing to protect the most vulnerable people in our communities and our contribution to making the Thames Valley a safe place to live and work.

“Our work would not be possible without the close support of our community partners and the public.

“And we promise that we will keep engaging with communities and our partners to target our resources on the crimes of greatest concern to the public and where we can be most effective.

“I believe that the rise that we have seen this year in the reporting of domestic abuse and sexual offences demonstrates the growing confidence of victims that they will be treated with compassion and sensitivity by our officers.

“Despite the increases  in Violent crime on last year, which may on the face appear to be concerning, we are confident that the increases are down to better recording, and that the Thames Valley has some of the lowest levels of violent crime in the country.

“It is pleasing to see that the burglary of homes continues to fall. The impact of someone breaking into your home can never be underestimated, and keeping levels of burglary low will remain a priority.

“Along with better recording practices, and increased reporting confidence we are building a truer and richer picture of crime in the Thames Valley Police area.

“The HMIC’s latest report rated Thames Valley Police as good across all areas of policing, and our victim satisfaction remains high at 88.4 per cent.

“We were only one of just five forces to be rated as such.

“As a Force we will continue to transform and innovate in order to protect the vulnerable, keep communities safe, bring criminals to justice and create a modern service which can tackle the changing face of crime.”