POLICE will deliver a 'robust approach' to act on the 'seriously concerning' increase of alcohol-related crimes in public areas.

Police chiefs discussed a range of issues at the public scrutiny board meeting at Cheshire Constabulary's headquarters on Wednesday.

Cheshire police and crime commissioner David Keane admitted he was 'seriously concerned' over the increase in alcohol-related crimes in public spaces, which featured in the police and crime plan performance report.

The recorded number of violent public space incidents where injuries were suffered, from March 2017 to March this year, totalled 5,052 incidents – an increase of 19.6 per cent.

While the recorded number of crimes where alcohol was a contributing factor came to 6,893 – an increase of 23.6 per cent.

Mr Keane asked: "Is there anything within this, within society, what we expect has led to that 23 per cent increase?"

Acting chief constable (ACC) Janette McCormick told him that part of it is down to 'improved crime recording'.

She said: "The reality is alcohol is a huge part of Chester Races and a huge part of the night-time economy in Warrington.

"This is a really safe place to live and work and enjoy yourself.

"But people do come to the area and drink to excess.

"It is a societal issue."

Deputy chief constable Darren Martland said: "We need a robust approach.

"Where there is violence, we will intervene and make an arrest."

The police chiefs also discussed the 36.4 per cent rise in crimes recorded by Cheshire Police – the third highest hike across England and Wales.

According to the latest figures released by the Office for National Statistics, the county saw a 36.4 per cent increase in overall recorded crime between December 2016 and December 2017.

During this period the number of recorded crimes rose to 82,443.

However, the increase has 'partly' been put down to 'improved crime recording processes'.

ACC McCormick said: "Cheshire is a very, very safe place.

"There have been some increases in crime and some are linked to crime recording.

"The overarching message is we are not complacent with the 36.4 per cent rise in crime."

Mr Keane also raised concerns over criminals acting out of 'desperation' during times of 'austerity' – an issue which he believes 'is on the rise'.

He said: "I have noticed as well, anecdotally talking to some of our team, the shoplifting of basics – the basic food stuff and clothing.

"I am particularly worried about society, austerity and that position where people feel forced into that behaviour."