ON the face of it, the latest crime figures for Gwent, covering the year to March 2014, make worrying reading.

Sexual offences are up 20 per cent; violent offences (without injury) up 36 per cent; robbery up three per cent. Figures which Gwent chief constable Jeff Farrar admits are concerning.

And despite falls in other categories of crime, including burglary and drug offences, the total number of recorded crimes in Gwent rose four per cent to 35,397 while throughout England and Wales there was an overall decrease of 14 per cent.

However, Gwent police and crime commissioner Ian Johnston says he believes a greater confidence in the force has led to more crimes being reported whereas previously they would not have appeared in the statistics.

The way crimes are reported has altered recently, with Mr Johnston placing more emphasis on the quality of service to the public rather than numerical targets, so we may not be comparing like with like. For that reason we are not overly critical of the force following the publication of these figures.

But the old figures will work their way out of the calculations; soon we will be comparing like with like, and then ā€“ in addition to a quality service from the police ā€“ we will be looking for overall crime figures to fall.