CRIME has fallen over the last year in County Durham and Darlington, official police records reveal.

Durham Constabulary recorded 45,250 offences in County Durham in the 12 months to March while 10,251 offences were recorded in Darlington, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The figures show a 12 per cent and 19 per cent decrease respectively compared to the previous year.

However at 85.4 and 96 crimes per 1,000 people both rates are higher than the rate across England and Wales, which stood at 77.6.

County Durham experienced an increase in stalking and harassment offences (up 10 per cent), public order offences (up eight per cent) and drug offences (up six per cent).

However the largest figure recorded - 20,132 violent offences - decreased by three per cent.

All crimes were down in Darlington except for stalking and harassment which increased by one per cent.

Theft offences across both areas dramatically decreased with 32 and 31 per cent fewer reports in County Durham and Darlington.

Despite the percentage decreases 1,733 reports of sexual offences were reported across the two areas.

READ MORE: Stalking increases by 10% during pandemic in County Durham

Bishop Auckland MP Dehenna Davison called on the government to ensure the safety of women and girls from violence after sharing her own experience of being followed home.

It came after the Government launched its strategy to ensure women and girls are safe at home, online and on the streets.

Durham Constabulary said officers will continue to take measures to cut crime through a number of community schemes.

A spokesman said: “Given the unprecedented situation we have faced over the last 18 months regarding the Covid-19 restrictions and lockdown, it is difficult to compare crime figures and trends over that period.

“However, throughout the pandemic we took steps to ensure our focus remained on our core roles: preventing crime, catching criminals and keeping our communities safe.

“We will continue to take measures to cut the volume of crime and, more importantly, reduce the number of victims of crime, including our ongoing Safer Streets programme, Operation Trident and joint work with other agencies such as the Safe Durham Partnership."

Overall, police recorded 13 per cent fewer crimes, excluding fraud, across England and Wales, during the first lockdown restrictions were introduced.

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