NORTH Yorkshire has been confirmed to be the safest place in England and Wales, new data has revealed.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that the county has a crime rate of just 49.9 per 1,000 people – the lowest rate in the country, and far below the national rate of 80.8.

North Yorkshire is the only police force area in the country that had a crime rate below 50 per 1,000 population last year.

Overall, total recorded crime in North Yorkshire and York fell by 13 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019. Across England and Wales, the decrease was 10 per cent.

Broken down into the main crime categories, the ONS figures for North Yorkshire show decreases in recorded crime compared to 2019, including:

  • Sexual offences decreased by 18 per cent
  • Robbery decreased by 12 per cent
  • Theft offences decreased by 31 per cent, including a 35 per cent fall in burglary and a 16 per cent fall in bicycle theft
  • Criminal damage and arson decreased by 9 per cent.

Violence against the person decreased by 2 per cent in North Yorkshire. This includes a 9 per cent fall in violence with injury, a 7 per cent fall in violence without injury, and a 17 per cent increase in stalking and harassment.

However, some other crime types in North Yorkshire increased in 2020, including:

  • Drug offences increased by 11 per cent
  • Possession of weapons offences increased by 28 per cent
  • Public order offences increased by 12 per cent

Chief Constable Lisa Winward, of North Yorkshire Police, said: “2020 was an extremely challenging year, but exceptional situations call for an exceptional response – and officers, staff and volunteers across the force have shown a level of commitment, professionalism and diligence that is nothing short of incredible.

“Clearly, national lockdown restrictions had a significant effect on levels of crime throughout last year, but it’s encouraging to know that our area remains the safest place in the country.

"We couldn’t have achieved this without the confidence of the people we serve, and I’m so grateful that our communities have been overwhelmingly supportive of our work during these difficult times.

“It’s very likely that levels of crime will fluctuate as national restrictions ease, but we will never be complacent, and will continue to work hard to meet the challenges we face, ensuring victims remain at the centre of everything we do.”