DRUG crime in Wiltshire has risen by 15.6 per cent in Wiltshire over the last year, according to the latest information released by the Office for National Statistics.

But overall crime in the county has fallen by 2.3 per cent in the same period – April 2013 to March 2014.

The Wiltshire force is the sixth lowest nationally for overall crime and is third lowest for burglary rates, having reduced by 17 per cent compared to a national average of 6.7 per cent reduction, while reported incidents of robbery have fallen by 19 per cent and vehicle crime by 12.5 per cent.

The number of violent crimes is up by 9.6 per cent, while sexual offences have gone up by 6.3 per cent, compared to the national rise of 19.7 per cent.

Chief Constable Pat Geenty said: “I am pleased with the crime statistics and in particular the decreases in burglary, robbery and vehicle crime. These are all victim based crimes that communities care about and I feel it is vital not only that Wiltshire Police deliver a professional service but that we provide reassurance through the crime statistics that we are continuing to tackle these crimes.”

Mr Geenty said a renewed focus on the quality of crime recording and changes in recording practice nationally has led to a rise in reported incidents of some types of crime, while high profile sex abuse cases with multiple victims in the reporting period have also contributed to the increase in that area.

“I continue to tell my officers and staff that I do not want a target driven force. Our focus is on delivering an effective service, where the public can feel confident in Wiltshire Police’s integrity and the treatment they receive,” he added.

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, Angus Macpherson, said: “It is encouraging to note that the overall number of victims of crime in Wiltshire has fallen once again.

“The increase in drug offences could be a cause for concern. However, to the extent that the rise can be explained by the constabulary’s work to gather intelligence and then to target and disrupt drug networks, I am reassured.”

“The increase in sexual offences results from the constabulary ensuring that crimes are properly recorded.

“The publicity surrounding historic sex abuse cases has also encouraged victims to come forward and speak to the police.

“The increase in violent assaults is a concern and work is underway to establish whether further steps are needed to protect the public.”