CRIME in North Yorkshire has risen by 5 per cent above the national average, the latest figures have shown.

Data released today by the Office for National Statistics shows crime rose in the 12 months to September 2018 by 13 per cent compared with the national average of eight per cent.

North Yorkshire Police recorded 42,279 crimes in the year to September 2018, with the biggest rises including stalking and harassment (up 75 per cent with 2,283 crimes), weapon possession (up 35 per cent, with 295 offences), and violence against the person (up 27 per cent with 12,776 crimes).

Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan said the dramatic increase was worrying, but not unexpected.

York Press: Julia Mulligan, North Yorkshire's police and crime commissioner

Mrs Mulligan said: "While these figures paint a negative picture, this rise in crime was expected - as I set out in October when the last figures were released. To maintain the trust of communities, it is important that all crimes that do take place are properly recorded – and this increase is partly as a result of that.

"Any rise is, of course, worrying through – and I understand that people will be concerned. There has been a small genuine increase in crime, but North Yorkshire remains statistically the safest place to live in England, and I am proud of the hard work and professionalism which makes that so."

Mrs Mulligan said recording crime accurately must continue, "even if that makes for alarming headlines".

She said: "We can only tackle crime effectively if we know what crime there is and I will be keeping a close eye on this work, as well as the response the Chief Constable is putting in place to the genuine increases in crime.

"More generally, I will be seeking to ensure the force is as efficient and effective as it can be, as well as properly funded, so the maximum possible resources are directed to the frontline to protect and support communities across North Yorkshire and York with more visible, local policing."

More to follow.