Violent crime has shot up by nearly 20% in Cheshire over the past 12 months.
While the number of recorded crimes in the county has risen by 0.1% – the equivalent of 72 offences - the latest data from the Office of National Statistics shows that there was an 18% increase in violent crimes which equates to 2,183 incidents.
Cheshire Constabulary's deputy Chief Constable Janette McCormick claims this increase has been observed by most police forces in England and Wales and has explained that one of the reasons behind it is national changes introduced to ensure consistency in how crimes are recorded.
She said: “For example incidents of disorder in a public area may have been categorised as anti-social behaviour rather than as a crime, and this new way of recording is now being reflected in our data – hence the increase in violent crime.
“Whilst it is disappointing to see any increase in crime in Cheshire, it is good to see the crime prevention work and targeted operations we have been doing to protect our communities are having an impact and we continue to see reductions in crimes that have the greatest impact on victims.”
But the force say other crimes which have a significant personal impact on victims continue to fall, like burglary which saw 794 fewer victims over the last year.
Theft offences are also down, which means there were 2,164 fewer victims.
Cheshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Keane revealed he has already had discussions with Chief Constable Simon Byrne to understand the increase and will be 'undertaking detailed scrutiny' of the force's performance and response at an upcoming meeting of the Scrutiny Board.
"My focus remains to ensure that the Chief Constable is delivering the best possible police service for our communities," he added.