VIOLENT crimes and public order offences are on the up in Gwent as the number of crimes recorded rose by nearly a fifth last year.

A total of 57,849 offences were reported across Newport, Torfaen, Monmouthshire, Caerphilly and Blaenau Gwent between April 2018 and March 2019.

That is a 19 per cent increase on the 48,711 incidents recorded in 2017/18, and a 38 per cent hike on the 41,906 from 2016/17.

Gwent crime in numbers

  • 44 - the percentage increase in violent crimes without injury, where the victim is punched, kicked or pushed with no resulting injury. There were 14,176 incidents – up from 9,828 in 2017/18.
  • 2,540 - the number of recorded residential burglaries, with the total number falling slightly on last year’s 2,612.
  • 67 - the percentage increase of public order offences. A total of 7,872 incidents were reported, up from 4,716.
  • 5,823 - violent crimes consisting of wounding and assault with minor injury – up to 5,823 from 4,880.
  • 574 - incidents of rape reported to the police, up by a third. Some 21 per cent of rape crimes reported were historical.
  • 217 - the percentage increase of reported stalking cases, with 298 incidents reported compared to 94 last year.
  • 267 - cases of specific harassment of a person in their home.
  • 2,243 - the number of cyber-related crimes recorded by police, which can include harassment, exploitation and fraud.

The year-on-year increase is due to better crime recording practices, say Gwent Police, with upward trends in overall recorded crime replicated across Wales and England.

Jeff Cuthbert, the police and crime commissioner for Gwent, says he remains “confident and reassured” that the force is delivering an efficient and effective service.

A meeting of the Gwent Police and Crime Panel heard that stalking and harassment offences were now recorded alongside the most serious offence involving the same victim and offender.

This change, enforced by the Home Office, has led to an 85 per cent increase in harassment offences between 2017/18 and 2018/19.

Despite rising nationally, knife crime rates in Gwent remain low, with Gwent Police ranking 41st out of 43 forces in the UK.

But concerns remain around knife-related incidents, with 60 per cent of all bladed implement offences occurring within the home.

Cllr Jason Jordan, of Newport City Council, said he was “really worried” about a small rise in the number of bladed objects found in schools, with two incidents resulting in injury.

Mr Cuthbert said the local force was being “extremely proactive” in trying to change attitudes, saying: “We’ve had some amnesties of knives but what we can do is limited.

“It’s very much about partnership working with local authorities, the health board, and the whole range of organisations that have clear interest and expertise in this area.

“It’s a very unfortunate sign of the times but we are as active as we can be."