Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner said: “I note today’s crime statistics from the ONS. The crime figures present a mixed picture – drug offences down by 7% in South Yorkshire but violence against the person up by 35%.

“It is important that we understand the reasons for any increases or decreases if we want to find effective strategies for getting all crime down.

“Some of the increase probably reflects the reduction in police officer numbers that has happened across the country. 20,000 officers have been lost nationwide since 2010, 500 of them in South Yorkshire.

“The increase in stalking may not indicate more stalking but rather a greater willingness of people to report it. This means that they have greater confidence that the police will take them seriously and deal with matters effectively – and this is good.

“Increase in knife crime has been happening for a year or two, though in South Yorkshire that increase is now showing as below the national average. There is a strategy here to combat knife crime through a targeted and proportionate use of stop and search, work with communities and in schools – (I run a programme called YOYO – You’re Only Young Once). The police will also be again running Operation Sceptre in September, proactively going into areas where there have been incidents and finding weapons.

“I shall continue to work with the police and all partner agencies to understand what the figures are telling us and to find effective ways of reducing crime and anti-social behaviour.”