NEW figures show that the number of sex offences being reported in Cumbria have risen by almost a quarter.

Data revealed by the Office of National Statistics show that for the year ending June 2017, 1,078 sex crimes were committed in the county – up 23 per cent on the previous year.

There were also 178 more recorded thefts from a person – an increase of 38 per cent while 840 domestic burglaries accounted for an 11 per cent rise in the same period.

But drug offences were down 16 per cent, possession of weapons down 25 per cent and public order offences down 14 per cent.

Meanwhile, the number of police officers in the country has decreased, according to figures revealed by the Labour party

They say there were 1,238 officers in Cumbria in March, 2010, but in March, 2017, there were just 1,112 – a 10 per cent reduction.

Chief Superintendent Andy Towler said: “While there are a number of areas where we are seeing reductions compared to national trends, we are not complacent.

“Officers and staff will continue to work hard every day to provide the policing service the people of Cumbria would expect.

“It is encouraging to see that there have been increases in reports of historically under-reported offences such as sexual offences, which the constabulary have placed an emphasis in recent years on encouraging victims to report.”

“It is important that victims of such crimes feel confident in reporting incidents to the constabulary so we can conduct a thorough and professional investigation.

“A comparison service, that used crime statistics categorised by population, has identified a number of Cumbrian towns as being in the top ten safest places to live in North West England. This is testament to the positive work officers and staff conduct on a daily basis.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Peter McCall, said: “Overall crime in Cumbria is fairly static, which I very much welcome.

“Where we have seen larger increases, for incidents such as sexual offences, this is area where we have been proactive in raising awareness and encouraging reporting, so this is to be welcomed.

“As part of my role in scrutinising the Chief Constable’s performance I focus on the constabulary on a regular basis. This includes scrutiny of crime statistics and trends.

“I am really pleased that Cumbria remains one of the safest counties in England, but we are not complacent. Crime and criminals are always dynamic and we have to remain vigilant and agile to prevent and detect crimes as they develop. We will continue to work with our communities to make our county even safer.”