VIOLENT crime has risen in South Worcester area over the last year, despite an overall drop in recorded offences.

Changes in society while coronavirus restrictions were in place led to most types of crime plummeting nationally over the period – although drug offences rose by nearly a third during lockdown – the Office for National Statistics said.

West Mercia Police recorded 8,224 incidents of violent crime in South Worcester in the 12 months to June, according to the ONS.

That was an increase of 10 per cent compared to the previous year.

At 26.6 crimes per 1,000 people, that was slightly lower than the rate across England and Wales, which stood at 29.5.

One of the main factors behind the increase in South Worcester was the rise in stalking and harassment, which rose by 29 per cent, from 1,935 incidents to 2,505.

Offences of violence without injury were recorded 3,262 times, an increase of 9 per cent on the previous year, and violence with injury on 2,447 occasions, down by 4 per cent.

John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: “Although crime fell during the pandemic the pressure on the police remained.

“Policing had to adapt to a situation unlike anything we had experienced before and continues to do so even as the national lockdown was lifted and crime returned to pre-lockdown levels.

“That pressure has increased with local lock-downs being rolled out and because of the additional challenges they bring to policing.”

Overall, police recorded 4 per cent fewer crimes across England and Wales.

Data is in the recorded crime data by Community Safety Partnership (CSP) area tables. The CSP area is called South Worcester which covers the local authorities of: Malvern Hills, Worcester and Wychavon.