CRIME continues to rise stubbornly in York and North Yorkshire - but police chiefs say recent successes show the tide of lawlessness is turning.

Violence, burglary and robbery have all risen over the past 12 months, with an extra 3,981 offences of all kinds taking place - a rise of six per cent.

But police chiefs point out that an enthusiastic drive to turn around performance, which began in September last year, has put the force on course for further steady improvement.

Chief Constable Della Cannings said the impact of Operation Delivery, a force-wide back-to-basics crime-fighting drive, has been "significant". She said: "This ever-greater focus on performance will continue to have a positive impact on North Yorkshire Police and the communities it serves.

"The report (of police performance statistics) details some of the gains the force has all ready made while at the same time highlighting those areas where there is still more work to do."

Violent crime is up by 17 per cent, which senior officers believe is in part due to new counting rules, while 37 more robberies took place in the past year, a rise of about ten per cent. Burglary in the York and Selby area increased by 11 per cent (176 more offences), while the rural east and west areas showed a decrease of eight and one per cent respectively. The average rise was 3.7 per cent.

The new North Yorkshire Police Authority figures come against a background of big improvements in crime detection.

Operation Delivery saw detected crime rise between September 2003 and March 2004 to 19 per cent, up from 14 per cent for the same period the preceding year.

In the same period, robbery detection rose to 38 per cent and violent crime to 70 per cent. Vehicle crime also dropped by 13 per cent as detection almost doubled to 11 per cent.

Jeremy Holderness, clerk of North Yorkshire Police Authority, said the figures were "encouraging", and reflected an increased investment in a modernising force.

He said: "Operation Delivery is kicking in and there's evidence that we are down in terms of crime while detections are up. But there's a lot of hard work to be done to make sure the progress is steady."

Updated: 10:47 Monday, May 03, 2004