CRIME is down slightly in Cheshire, although reports of sexual assaults, violent crime and theft are on the increase, latest police figures show.

The figures were released today, Friday, by the Office for National Statistics.

In the year up until September 2013, sex offences had risen by 21 per cent to 896, and theft from a person was up 42 per cent, with 1,088 crimes recorded.

Bosses at Cheshire Police say the rise in sex crimes is because its dedicated rape unit is able to investigate cases more efficiently, while the theft upsurge was blamed on Creamfields where 400 crimes were reported in one weekend with people having phones and wallets stolen.

Violent crime like robbery was also up slightly by four per cent.

Reductions were seen in criminal damage, arson, drug offences, fraud and possession of weapons.

Crime was down by one per cent overall across Cheshire.

John Dwyer, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, said he was ‘disappointed’ not to see an larger decrease, but that he believes Cheshire is still a safe place to live.

He said: “We have got to accept that at some point crime will plateau, and that crime will always be committed.

“We need to have discussions and see how we can increase reduction, and how we can improve on the level of crime in Cheshire.”

Dep Chf Con Helen King, from Cheshire Police, said: “Overall, crime is continuing to fall in Cheshire and the county remains one of the safest in the country.

“Although for this reporting period, we have seen a very slight increase in violent crime we would like to reassure people that the force is committed to tackling all forms of violent crime and crime of this nature will not be tolerated.

“Furthermore, it is encouraging to see we are now starting to see a decrease in this type of crime.

“Tackling this sort of criminality is a top priority for the Constabulary and we have had a number of successful operations like we saw yesterday with the arrest of four people believed to be responsible for over 100 burglaries across the county.

“We also need the public to continue to help us.

“Always report any suspicious activity to police and remain vigilant by taking some very simple steps such as keeping doors and windows locked even when at home. “Similarly with vehicle crime, where there has also been a small increase, the public can do their bit to help reduce this by adopting sensible precautions to ensure the security of their vehicles.”