REPORTED crime in Wiltshire went down last year, new figures released today reveal.

For the period March 2018 to March 2019, burglaries reported to Wiltshire Police dropped 23% and vehicle crime went down 28%.

With vehicle crime, that's more than a thousand fewer cars, vans and trucks being broken in to, the force says.

However, recorded robbery increased by 7% in 2019 compared to the 2018 figure – an increase of 21 incidents, alongside a 42% increase in stalking and harassment. Nevertheless, that figure is still lower than the national average of 11%.

Crimes involving a knife were stable compared to a national increase of 8% for this quarter.

Angus Macpherson, Wiltshire and Swindon’s Police and Crime Commissioner, welcomed the latest figures.

He said: “As we know, Wiltshire is a safe county and I am pleased to see these latest figures highlight the on-going work being done by this force to continually prevent crime and protect our communities.

“Our improved recording practices, which Wiltshire Police has been focusing on 18 months ahead of most other forces, has helped with the accuracy of these figures.

"In the last set of Office of National Statistics figures, burglary and vehicle crime had dropped and it is heartening to see that this continues - a result of me challenging the chief constable and his team on the improvement on burglary and vehicle crime numbers.

“This type of scrutiny from me and my office is crucial to ensure Wiltshire Police continues to deliver for the communities it serves.”

DS Sarah Robbins added: “Knowing we are one of the few forces in the country where overall reported crime has dropped is good news but we are never complacent and remain focused when it comes to tackling all crimes and offenders.

"With robberies, it is always concerning to see a rise in an offence which can increase the fear of crime in communities.

"However, we need to put some context around this, as a small force with a large rural footprint, robbery offences are generally low which means that when there is a small increase in numbers of recorded crimes, as we have seen here, the percentage increase can appear high - it looks far more alarming than it is and let's not forget it is still lower than the national average.

"We will never be blasé about this and we continue to address this type of crime and its causes."