Recorded violent crime in Wales up 96% from 2012 to 2016

image source, EPA

The number of recorded crimes involving violence has almost doubled in Wales over the last four years.

There were 59,854 reported cases in 2016 compared to 30,550 in 2012, while the figure was only slightly higher in the previous four years.

Cases include homicide, violence involving injury and incidents where no-one was hurt.

But experts have said the figures should not be used to measure violence in society.

Prof Jonathan Shepherd, head of the violence research group at Cardiff University, said: "Police records are hopelessly inadequate when it comes to measuring violence."

He highlighted that there were cases not reported to the police, there are more types of offending which now come under the violence category, and that the threshold for violence with injury is lower.

"The positive is that the increase in reporting of offences by people who are affected means the police are getting a handle on more crimes of violence and that means more offenders can be brought to book and it will be safer," Prof Shepherd added.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures showed in 2016, the total number of all crimes reported to the police rose 7.66% on the previous year.

The rise is lower than the overall picture for England and Wales combined which has gone up by 9%.

The ONS said the increase was "thought to reflect changes in recording processes and practices rather than crime".

Rises include:

  • 34,936 cases of violence without injury recorded in 2016, up 31% on 2015
  • 24,883 cases of violence with injury, up 9.97%
  • 13,232 public order offences, up 31.5%
  • 5,973 sexual offences, up 18%
  • 35 cases of homicide, up 25%

Falls include:

  • 8,383 drug offences recorded in 2016, down 15% on 2015
  • 706 robberies, down 1.53%
  • 6,788 domestic burglaries, down 3.21%
  • 9,326 non-domestic burglaries, down 7.17%
  • 1,651 thefts from people, down 3.34%

South Wales Police said every report is automatically logged as a crime, and is then investigated.

Its police and crime commissioner Alun Michael said: "It is clear that people are now more confident than ever to report crime, and therefore we must expect some increase in our recorded crime figures - and we are encouraging that positive trend."

Gwent police and crime commissioner Jeff Cuthbert said: "Whilst the latest figures show an increase in violence against the person and violence with and without injury, this could be attributed to victims having improved confidence to come forward to report these crimes and knowing that they will get access to the right support in Gwent."

North Wales Police Assistant Chief Constable Richard Debicki said: "We rely of the public for much of our information in order to keep them safe, and I am very grateful for our communities continuing support and the strong relationship that we enjoy with them."

Dyfed-Powys police and crime commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said the increase "can largely be attributed to Dyfed-Powys Police's drive of continuous improvement and commitment towards a victim-centred approach".

He added: "This has had an impact on how we record crime, which has then led to an expected increase in the figures."

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