Devon and Cornwall remains one of the safest places in the country, according to the latest Office of National Statistics (ONS) crime figures released last week.

The statistics reported that overall crime rose by 9.3 per cent in Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly during the 12 months to 30 June 2022, which is lower than the national average rise of 12.5 per cent.

Similar to previously released statistics, a rise in crime during this period was expected as the figures are directly compared with the same months in 2020 and 2021 in which the country was subjected to national and regional COVID-19 lockdowns and saw a significant fall in crime.

There has been a rise of 21.8 per cent of reported sexual offences compared to the same time the previous year, which coincides with the national picture.

Residential burglary offences in Devon and Cornwall have fallen by 1.1 per cent in the last year, while nationally they rose by 0.5 per cent.

Drug offences continue to be a problem.

Alison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said in her own spin of the stats: “Recorded crime data is one of the tools I use to understand the picture of offending in Devon and Cornwall. A rise in some crime types, such as sexual offences where there has been greater public awareness around the expectation to better protect women and girls, can indicate that victims of crime have greater confidence in the police or are more motivated to seek justice, particularly for offences that may have happened to them as a child or young adult. 

“I am pleased that Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have some of the lowest rates of neighbourhood crimes in the country but there is still much work to be done to tackle violence, including that linked to the illegal drug trade. Our force will be working with five other forces this winter on Operation Scorpion, which will see users and dealers targeted in significant enforcement activity across the South West, telling our communities that our region is no place for drugs”.