CRIME rates have increased in North Yorkshire but it remains the safest county in the country.

The latest Office of National Statistics’ (ONS) Crime in England and Wales bulletin reveals North Yorkshire remains the lowest crime area in England and Wales despite a nine per cent rise in recorded offences.

It shows there were 47,929 crimes in the county during the 12-month period up to December 2019, giving a crime rate of 58.1 per 1,000 of the population.

The average is 89 per 1,000 across England and Wales.

Chief Constable Lisa Winward said: “Even with our national position, we are not complacent, and a top priority for the force is ensuring victims continue to feel confident about reporting offences to us.

"As part of this, our piece of work to improve how we record crime, and also detect and investigate offences is ongoing as this naturally influences the county’s crime levels. Maintaining our position as the safest place in the country is testament not only to the professionalism and dedication of the teams of people from North Yorkshire Police and our local authority and community partners, but also our communities who provide so much support to their local policing teams.

“There is no doubt that our collective strength, passion and pride we have for our area is a key factor in this high level of performance and my thanks go to each and every officer, staff member, volunteer and partner whose role is vital in helping us protect people."