WILTSHIRE Police has reported the lowest crime increase out of all police forces in England and Wales.

The number of reported crimes in the county between September 2016 and September 2017 rose by just one per cent, compared to a national increase of 15 per cent.

And the force had the largest decreases nationally in criminal damage (down 46 per cent), robbery (down 40 per cent) and public order offences, which dropped by 14 per cent.

But an increase of 19 per cent was recorded in sexual offences, as well as 18 per cent more thefts, 33 per cent more thefts from vehicles, and seven per cent more violent crimes.

The county’s police and crime commissioner, Angus Macpherson, said the force “recognised the increase in domestic burglary and vehicle crime”, adding that he was pleased to see officers “robustly responding” to these concerns.

The force said it had made tackling burglary a priority, and invested in crime prevention awareness concerning vehicle crime.

And he said a 69 per cent rise in domestic burglary was down to national changes on how break-ins are recorded, as shed break-ins are now classed in this category.

But he said the increase was still “not acceptable” and said improvements were needed.

“The force has responded well and since these statistics were collected in September there has been a substantial number of arrests made, and this appears to have reduced current burglary numbers.”

Detective Superintendent Craig Holden said the rate of crime in Wiltshire had “drastically slowed”, but that the force was not complacent and remained focused on tackling all crime.

He added: “As a force, we are constantly changing our process and are pro-actively putting into practice the recommendations made.”

Mr Macpherson added: “Wiltshire Police is consistently working to improve recording practices, and this has been reflected by the increase in recorded crime greatly slowing and the data stabilising.

“Although I continue to highlight the increases in crime as being reflective of recording practices, at no point am I, or the chief constable becoming complacent.”

North Yorkshire was the only other force to record a one per cent rise in crime, with the highest in Greater Manchester at 41 per cent.

Other local forces also reported increases in the number of overall crimes recorded, with nine per cent in Dorset and 16 per cent in Hampshire.