Statement from Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner:

“The latest national crime figures make it very clear that the years of cuts to police budgets are starting to have undesirable consequences.

“For years, crime has been falling. These figures suggest that last year crime rose nationally by 6.5%. If this were to become a trend it would be worrying.

“The picture is better in South Yorkshire where the overall rate is half the national increase (3.3%) and less than the Yorkshire and Humber region as a whole (9.5%). The South Yorkshire increase is also smaller that the average across all similar police forces, some of which are as high as 19%.

“I have no doubt that the better results here in large part reflect the dedication and professionalism of the South Yorkshire force.

“Some crimes show big falls – such as burglary. But others show a worrying increase – such as sexual offences and violence against the person.

“Both of these were priorities in my Police and Crime Plan and these figures show that it was right to highlight them.

“Some figures may need to be treated with caution, however. The increase in sexual offences of 45.7% in South Yorkshire to some extent reflects greater confidence people have in reporting them and also better recording. Even so, this is an area where we must focus more.

“Against this background, it would be wrong to cut policing budgets further and this will be one of the factors I will take into account when setting the precept for the police service for the next financial year.”