Violent crime has soared in the Cotswolds over the last year, despite a drop in recorded crime across England and Wales.
Changes in society while coronavirus restrictions were in place led to most types of crime plummeting nationally over the period – although drug offences rose by nearly a third during lockdown – the Office for National Statistics said.
Gloucestershire Constabulary recorded 1,280 incidents of violent crime in the Cotswolds in the 12 months to June, according to the ONS.
That was an increase of 57 per cent compared to the previous year.
At 14.2 crimes per 1,000 people, that was far lower than the rate across England and Wales, which stood at 29.5.
One of the main factors behind the increase in the Cotswolds was the rise in stalking and harassment, which rose by 92 per cent, from 203 incidents to 389.
Offences of violence with injury increased by 22 per cent and violence without injury by 85 per cent, reaching 468 and 421 respectively.
There was also one homicide – a category which includes murders and manslaughters. In the previous 12 months, there were none.
The total number of offences in Cotswold increased by 10 per cent, with police recording 3,994 crimes over the course of the year.
This puts the overall crime rate at 44.4 per 1,000 people, compared to a national average of 84.7.
Other crimes recorded in Cotswold included:
- 97 sexual offences, a decrease of 8 per cent
- 1,636 theft offences, down 17 per cent
- 524 incidents of criminal damage and arson, up 11 per cent
- 77 drug offences, up 12 per cent
- 22 possession of weapons such as firearms or knives, up 38 per cent
- 278 public order offences, up 138 per cent
John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “Although crime fell during the pandemic the pressure on the police remained.
“Policing had to adapt to a situation unlike anything we had experienced before and continues to do so even as the national lockdown was lifted and crime returned to pre-lockdown levels.
“That pressure has increased with local lockdowns being rolled out and because of the additional challenges they bring to policing.”