Drug offences increase in Dacorum but overall crime falls
The figures were recorded in the 12 months to March
The number of drug offences has increased in Dacorum over the last year - but overall crime has fallen across the borough.
Hertfordshire Constabulary recorded 8,693 offences in Dacorum in the 12 months to March, according to the Office for National Statistics.
That was a decrease of 19 per cent compared to the previous year, when there were 10,723.
At 56.2 crimes per 1,000 people, that was far lower than the rate across England and Wales, which stood at 77.6.
Crimes recorded in Dacorum included:
> 387 drug offences, up 23 per cent
> 749 stalking and harassment offences, up 5 per cent
> 76 possession of weapons such as firearms or knives, up 1 per cent
> 240 sexual offences, a decrease of 24 per cent
> 3,097 violent offences, a decrease of 5 per cent
> 890 incidents of criminal damage and arson, down 18 per cent
> 639 public order offences, down 7 per cent
> 3,086 theft offences, down 32 per cent
Overall, police recorded 13 per cent fewer crimes, excluding fraud, across England and Wales, with around 4.6 million offences in the year to March.
The ONS said the annual drop was helped by a "substantial" fall in crime during April last year, when the first lockdown restrictions were introduced.
The number of recorded crimes increased between July and September, it added, before decreasing again as lockdown measures were imposed toward the end of last year.
However, in March this year, recorded crime was higher than the previous year as the phased exit from lockdown started.
Billy Gazard, from the ONS Centre for Crime and Justice, said: “The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on patterns of crime.
"There were large decreases in theft offences, such as domestic burglary and theft from the person, as more people stayed at home and limited their social contact."
But the figures did show a 28 per cent increase in stalking and harassment offences across England and Wales in the year ending in March, compared to the previous year.
This was driven by an increase in cyber stalking cases during the pandemic, according to the Suzy Lamplugh Trust.
The trust, which was set up to support victims of stalking following the disappearance of Suzy in 1986, said it had seen a rise in calls to its helpline since March last year.
Violet Alvarez, spokesperson from the trust, said: "We know that domestic abuse has risen drastically during the pandemic, and this is evident in the rise of ex-intimate partner stalking cases that we have seen on the helpline."
She said specialist training across police forces and courts was needed to ensure victims were adequately cared for and understood.