SHOCK statistics reveal the number of violent crimes committed in Worcester has risen by almost one-fifth in the past year.

The latest figures show that between January and November 2014, there were 1,601 violent incidents - compared to 1,346 in the same period the year before.

This equates to a year-on-year increase of 18.9 per cent, according to data on the UKCrimeStats website.

In the whole of 2013 there were just 1,474 violent crimes, meaning more crimes occurred in the first 11 months of last year than the whole of the previous year.

Violent crimes are defined by the Home Office as those "where the victim is intentionally stabbed, punched, kicked, pushed,

jostled, etc. or threatened with violence whether or not there is any injury".

The city centre was marred by two mass brawls last year - one on Bank Holiday Monday outside McDonald’s in Foregate Street and another on High Street in December.

Three men have been convicted for their part in the former, while seven men were arrested on suspicion of affray and bailed until next Monday (January 12) for their alleged involvement in the latter.

Figures indicate the total number of crimes that occurred in the city remained fairly stable, with 11,974 incidents from January to November last year and 11,921 in that period in 2013.

There have been success stories for the police in the past 12 months, with the number of anti-social behaviour incidents plunging from 5,830 in 2013 to 5,576 last year.

Detective Chief Inspector Emma Wright said: "Safer Neighbourhood teams in South Worcestershire work closely with their communities to tackle anti-social behaviour issues and deal robustly with perpetrators.

"We have undertaken a number of operations in Worcestershire during this period to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour including Operation Fuchsia, which was reported upon by the Worcester News and praised by Robin Walker MP in Parliament.

"In addition to this we have undertaken work with partners to tackle anti-social behaviour in a multi-agency way, leading to the introduction of the Integrated Community Management model in Worcester during November 2014.

"We have also done significant work to increase the confidence of victims to report both domestic abuse and sexual violence.

"This has included work with partner agencies such as the local authority, The Glade Sexual Assault Referral Centre, Women's Aid and the National Centre for Domestic Violence.

"Any increase in violent crime will, at least in part, be due to the progress we have made in encouraging victims of these crimes to come forward and report them.

"Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police are committed to protecting people from harm and as such we work hard to tackle anti-social behaviour and crime that impacts on our communities."

While UKCrimeStats' figures are not official police statistics, they are "likely to be indicative of police data" according to DCI Wright.