Drug crime levels on rise in north east Derbyshire - but police insist it is still safe place to live

Drug crimes are on the rise in north east Derbyshire, according to latest figures.
Drug crimes are on the rise in north east Derbyshire, according to latest figures.

Drug crime in north east Derbyshire has increased by more than a third, according to latest figures - but officers say it is still a safe place to live.

There were 98 drug-related offences in the 12 months to September 2018, according to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

This includes trafficking and dealing substances such as heroin and cocaine, as well as possession crimes.

That figure is up by 40 per cent on the previous year, when 70 incidents were recorded.

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

Helen Ross, from the ONS Centre for Crime and Justice, said: “In recent decades we’ve seen the overall level of crime falling, but in the last year, it remained level. Burglary, shoplifting and computer misuse are decreasing but others, such as vehicle offences and robbery are rising.

“We have also seen increases in some types of ‘lower-volume, high-harm’ violence including offences involving knives or sharp instruments.”

Crime levels in north east Derbyshire

Overall, police recorded crime in north east Derbyshire increased in the 12 months to September 2018.

Over the period, 3,514 crimes were recorded, up by 16 per cent on 2016-17.

That means there was a rate of 35 crimes per 1,000 residents during 2017-18, below the England and Wales average of 85.

Despite rising nationally, gun and knife possession offences in north east Derbyshire have dropped by two, to 15 incidents.

There have been no homicides, which are murders or manslaughters.

Across England and Wales, the number of recorded homicides rose by 14 per cent, to the highest level since 2008.

In north east Derbyshire, theft, one of the most high volume crimes, increased by 11 per cent.

What did Derbyshire police say?

A Derbyshire police spokesman said: “As these figures show north east Derbyshire remains a safe area to live, work and visit.

“However, with that being said we pro-actively aim to disrupt, deter and detect criminality in our area.

“Two particular issues that have been part of these operations are synthetic cannabinoids – commonly known as mamba - and so called ‘county lines’ drug dealing.

Both of these have seen concerted policing operations around them - along with an increase in the use of stop and search, a tactic that has increased the number of drugs offences detected.”

The police spokesman also said that new technology, such as drugs wipes which give instant results for certain drugs, allow officers to detect usage quickly and easily.

He said: “Other offences that have seen rises are often attributable to better reporting – such as sexual offences and stalking and harassment.

“The rise in these reported crime shows victims believe we will take their concerns seriously and are confident that we will investigate.

“Where there have been reported rises, such as criminal damage, a multi-agency response has been used to ensure that a holistic process is put in place to deal with those committing the crimes and ensure that, where possible, they are moved away from behaviours or situations that may lead them into criminality.

“Officers dedicate themselves to preventing and reducing crime, bringing criminals to justice and ensuring the safety of all who live, work and visit our area.”