NORTH Yorkshire is officially the safest place in England, according to the latest crime figures.

The number of incidents has dropped by five per cent, which equates to 1,593 fewer victims, according to a report from the Office of National Statistics.

"The reduction in crime in North Yorkshire is testament to the dedicated work of the policing teams and the strong community partnerships right across the county,” said Chief Constable Dave Jones.

“We are very proud to be recognised as the safest place in England and, together with the Police and Crime Commissioner, I am fully committed to maintaining the fight against crime and increasing the safety and quality of life for residents.”

The figures are for the 12 month period ending in September, 2013, with a total of 34,363 crimes committed in that time - or 43 per 1,000 members of the population.

This is the lowest in England and second lowest in England and Wales combined.

The biggest drop was for ‘possession of offensive weapons’, which fell by 24 per cent.

However reports of sexual offences increased by 20 per cent, with a total of 135 crimes.

Shoplifting also increased by three per cent which police said could be a result of the economic downturn forcing people to turn to crime 'to acquire goods'.