CONCERN has been expressed over crime statistics for Nuneaton and Bedworth by a Warwickshire Police Commissioner hopeful.
James Plaskitt has spoken out about the figures that have been published by Warwickshire Police Authority, stating that they do not tell the full story.
Provisional statistics are now available for the last financial year from April 2011 to the end of March this year. They show that overall crime in the borough rose from 9,290 incidents to 9,681 - an increase of 391 or 4.2 per cent.
But within the overall figures, there was a sharp increase in robbery, which is up by 21 per cent and theft from vehicles saw a rise of 18 per cent.
Other categories of crime also showed a rise, including burglary from business premises which is up six per cent and serious sexual offences rose by six per cent.
But there is some good news, violent crime is down by four per cent and domestic burglary is down by two per cent. The year also saw 7,100 recorded incidents of anti-social behaviour across the borough.
Mr Plaskitt, former Labour Member of Parliament for Warwick and Leamington who is hoping to stand in the commissioner elections in November, said: "We are looking at rising crime and falling police numbers. The priorities are wrong.
"The government’s deep cuts to policing mean we are all paying by suffering higher crime. The large increases in vehicle crime and robbery in Nuneaton and Bedworth are especially worrying.
"The police are doing the best they can, but across Nuneaton and Bedworth, neighbourhood policing is being carried out by around 30 officers, and the rise in crime levels suggest that the thin blue line is now just too thin.
"Warwickshire's policing cuts are the biggest outside London and there is no justification for that. I believe the Warwickshire Police Commissioner, due to be elected in November, must put local community priorities first. We need to cut crime, not Warwickshire police.”
He added: "Because of the government’s deep cuts to policing we are down by over 200 officers across the county and the force is now too stretched.
"Nuneaton and Bedworth residents should not have to put up with rising crime. In November, we will all have a chance to make a change, and vote for a safer borough."