Crime in Huntingdonshire has increased slightly year-on-year, according to latest police figures, but a police spokesman has said that the increase is due to more people reporting crimes.

In 2018, there were 10,137 reported offences in Huntingdonshire, data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) has revealed.

Statistics show that crime has risen by two per cent on the previous year, when 9,927 incidents were recorded.

That means there was a rate of 57 crimes per 1,000 residents during 2018, below the England and Wales average of 88.

However, Cambridgeshire police have said that they believe an increase in crimes in the area is due to more people reporting offences.

According to the police, they have 'made it easier to report crimes' which, they believe, is the main reason for the increase.

In Huntingdonshire, there were 333 incidents of recorded sexual offences in 2018, which was a 16 per cent rise from the previous year. Police think this is due to the number of high profile cases which have encouraged more victims to come forward.

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire police said: "In the past couple of years we have made it even easier for people to report crime, through the introduction of online reporting and web chat facilities, enabling people to report crime at a time convenient to them.

"Over the past year we have run successful operations to target organised criminals linked to crimes such as burglary. This includes ten men who were sentenced to a total of 71 years for committing more than 200 burglaries, including nearly 100 in Cambridgeshire."

Figures also revealed two murders in the area alongside three cases of death or injury by dangerous driving.

However, despite rising nationally, gun and knife possession offences in Huntingdonshire have dropped by 12.9 per cent.

Criminal damage in the area, which includes arson and vandalising cars and houses has also reduced from 1,369 incidents in 2017, to 1,281 in 2018.

Cambridgeshire police also told the Hunts Post that they are working with members of the public to help reduce their chances of becoming a victim of crime. A spokesman said: "The force has dedicated crime reduction officers whose work involves providing the public with practical steps they can take to reduce their chances of becoming a victim of crime.

"The public also play a vital role in supporting our work to tackle and prevent crime, and every day we receive information from them that makes a genuine and positive difference."

In Huntingdonshire, theft, one of the most high volume crimes, increased by 13 per cent. Drugs-related offences dropped by 22 per cent.

Crime in Huntingdonshire increased last year, according to new figures. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA Archive/PA ImagesCrime in Huntingdonshire increased last year, according to new figures. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA Archive/PA Images

The statistics are based on crimes reported by police, and the ONS urges caution in interpreting some of these figures.

Alexa Bradley, from the ONS Centre for Crime and Justice, said: "When we look at the overall level of crime, there has been no significant change over the last year.

"However, it is important to look at each crime type. Robbery and vehicle offences have increased whereas burglary has decreased.

"Lower-volume, high-harm violence involving knives has risen, whereas offences involving firearms have decreased."

Commenting on national crime figures, which also saw a rise, Chief Constable Bill Skelly, of the National Police Chiefs' Council, said: "Rising crime, increased terrorist activity and fewer police officers have put serious strain on the policing we offer to the public.

"We are determining the additional capabilities and investment we need to drive down violence and catch more criminals - and we will make the case at the next Government spending review."

Policing minister Nick Hurd said: "New statistics show that your chance of being a victim of crime remains low. Yet too many people are still falling victim to serious violence, which is why we will continue our urgent and unprecedented action to reverse this terrible trend.

"We have given police forces additional powers and have this year put more than £1 billion extra into policing."