Violent crime rises in Bedford as cases of stalking and harassment grow

Though there has been a decrease in sexual offences and theft

Monday, 17th May 2021, 11:57 am
Updated Monday, 17th May 2021, 11:58 am

Violent crime has risen in Bedford over the last year, despite an overall drop in recorded offences.

Bedfordshire Police recorded 4,875 incidents of violent crime in Bedford in the 12 months to December, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

That was an increase of six per cent compared to the previous year.

Cases of stalking and harassment have risen by 10 per cent in the 12 months to December

At 28.1 crimes per 1,000 people, that was slightly lower than the rate across England and Wales, which stood at 30.

One of the main factors behind the increase in Bedford was the rise in stalking and harassment, which rose by 10 per cent, from 1,272 incidents to 1,399.

Offences of violence without injury were recorded 2,210 times, an increase of eight per cent on the previous year, and violence with injury on 1,262 occasions, down by one per cent.

Detective Superintendent William Hodgkinson said: “We have made enormous strides over the past 12 months in tackling crime across Bedfordshire, targeting things such as knife and gun crime as well as organised criminal activity.

“Although these figures show that there has been a small increase in violent crime, crimes of violence with injury fell by five per cent, and possessions of weapons offences were also down year on year.

“The increase has been driven by cases of stalking and harassment, and we are continuing to do all we can to support victims and keep our communities safe.

“This year we secured our first-ever stalking protection order. These civil orders offer interim protection for anyone who believes they are being targeted by stalking behaviour. They allow us to protect the victim and deter an offender, with or without resultant criminal proceedings.

“It is encouraging that there has been a fall in overall crime in Bedfordshire, including a decrease in sexual offences and theft offences.

“We will do all we can to continue making our county safer, pursuing offenders, protecting victims and working with our partners and communities to keep improving the service we provide.”

The total number of offences in Bedford fell by two per cent, with police recording 14,685 crimes over the course of the year.

This puts the overall crime rate at 84.7 per 1,000 people, compared to a national average of 80.8.

Other crimes recorded in Bedford included:

403 sexual offences, a decrease of three per cent

5,399 theft offences, down 11 per cent

1,448 incidents of criminal damage and arson, down one per cent

499 drug offences, up six per cent

90 possession of weapons such as firearms or knives, down one per cent

1,465 public order offences, up nine per cent