9.5.1 Recorded crime figures in the South West showed a 3% decrease between 2008/09 and 2009/10 in violence against the person (with the rate in 2009/10 at 14 offences per 1,000 population), which compared to a 4% reduction across England and Wales for the same time period. However, the BCS in 2009/10 found that the level of violent crime in the South West (rate of 586 per 10,000 adults) did not show a statistically significant difference from the previous year. Meanwhile, the number of recorded sexual offences increased by 9% in the South West from 2008/09 to 2009/10 (compared to a 6% increase recorded across England and Wales), although the number of recorded robbery offences increased by 2% in the South West (compared to a 5% decrease across England and Wales). It should be noted that (in the South West) robbery has the lowest recorded volume of any of the main crime groups.
9.5.2 Of the police force areas in the region, in 2009/10 Avon & Somerset had the highest rate of recorded violence against the person in the South West (17 per 1,000 population), compared to 16 for England and Wales as a whole. The South West overall recorded a rate of 14 offences per 1,000 population, with three of the five forces in the region showing a reduction (Devon and Cornwall 3%, Dorset 6% and Gloucestershire 14%) in recorded offences of violence against the person compared to 2008/09. Two forces showed an increase compared to 2008/09 (Avon and Somerset at 1% and Wiltshire at 2%). England and Wales showed an overall decrease of 3%.
9.5.3 Research undertaken by the Home Office and a number of other organisations (see for example Crime in England and Wales 2005/06, Home Office 2006; Domestic violence offenders: characteristics and offending related needs, Home Office 2003; Alcohol and Crime, Institute of Alcohol Studies Fact Sheet 2007) suggests that there is a relationship between violent crime and alcohol, so linked to concerns about this crime type there is interest in the levels of alcohol consumption in the South West (for more information on which see the Public Health chapter).
Figure 9.5.1 Violent Crime Against the Person Rates per 1,000 Population by Local Authority, 2009/10