Crime statistics for 2016 released by Devon and Cornwall Police revealed a slight rise in crime in North and West Devon

Despite a small increase in recorded crime, North and West Devon remains one of the safest places to live according to the area’s superintendent.

Figures released by Devon and Cornwall Police revealed 8,227 crimes were recorded in the North and West Devon sector in 2016 – a 2.7 per cent increase on the 8,014 2015.

The entire force area of Devon and Cornwall saw 81,949 crimes recorded – a 5.8 per cent increase.

North and West Devon Superintendent Toby Davies said despite the increase, crime levels per head are ‘staggeringly low’.

He said: “Yes we have seen a modest increase in crime but this follows a year on year crime reduction over the last few years.

“Crime levels per head of population are staggeringly low and any increase is still below the rises being recorded nationally.

“The work of local police, and the support of our partners and communities, ensures that North and West Devon remains one of the safest areas to live in the country.”

Supt Davies said changes to the way some crimes such as malicious communications are recorded explain an increase in violence both with and without injury in 2016.

Violence without injury rose from 1,320 recorded crimes in 2015 to 1,514 last year – an increase of 14.7 per cent.

Not just about numbers

Supt Davies was keen to point out that most of the local police’s work is not crime related, with more focus on protecting the vulnerable and safeguarding victims.

He added: “There is a danger if we concentrate solely on crime reduction as a measure, as there are many areas of our work where my officers would encourage increased reporting of crime such as domestic abuse and sexual offending as these tend to be under reported and only then can we look to protect those at most risk of harm.”