RE-INVESTING in CCTV, setting up specialist policing units, and putting resources into preventative policing will keep communities safe according to Dyfed Powys Police.

The force has responded after figures produced by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show that crime year-on year has increased in Powys.

Data released by ONS show that there were 6,029 reported offences between April 2017 and March 2018.

That's up by 10.6 per-cent on the previous year, when 5,453 incidents were recorded.

That means there was a rate of 46 crimes per 1,000 residents during 2017-18, which shows that Powys is well below the England and Wales average of 82 per 1000.

The statistics are based on crimes reported to the police and the ONS urges caution in interpreting some of these figures.

Some offences go unreported while others may be more numerous due to a change in the focus of the police or greater public attention.

However the ONS believes crimes such as burglary and car theft, which are generally well reported and recorded, have genuinely increased.

Caroline Youell, from the ONS, said: "Most people don’t experience crime.

"The figures show a fairly stable picture in England and Wales for most crime types. "It is too early to say if this is a change to the long-term declining trend.

"We have seen continued increases in some theft offences such as vehicle-related theft and burglary, while computer viruses have fallen.

"There have been increases in some lower-volume 'high-harm' offences such as homicide and knife crime, consistent with rises over the past three years.

"However, the latest rise in gun crime is much smaller than previously seen."

Dyfed-Powys Police, Chief Superintendent, Vicki Evans said, “The four counties served by Dyfed-Powys Police are amongst the safest nationally and, we continue to work hard to ensure that this remains the case.

"The re-investment in CCTV, the establishment of specialist policing units and a re-alignment of resources to support preventative policing are all priority areas for us as a force and are central to our plans to keep our communities safe.”

"We acknowledge there is an increase crime which is in line with the national trends, but would ask that caution is shown when looking at percentage increases due to the total low numbers of incidents being referred to across our area.

"We are encouraged to see increases in the recording of under reported offences as the force is working hard to gain the confidence of victims so they feel able to report to us.

"The force has worked hard to improve its crime recording practises and this will account for a proportion of the increase seen, as will better-targeted proactive policing.

"We monitor changes in crime trends closely and work with partner agencies to problem solve local issues in order to prevent harm to our communities.

"I would encourage anyone who is a victim of crime across our area to contact us and ensure that their experience is recorded, investigated and most importantly, that they are given the support they may need and deserve."

Across England and Wales there was a 16 per-cent increase in offences with knives or sharp objects and a 12per-cent rise in homicides - murders and manslaughters - excluding charges from the Hillsborough disaster and terror attacks.

Gun and knife possession offences in Powys rose by five to 38 incidents.

There were 234 residential burglaries reported in 2017-18.

There have been two homicides, which are murders or manslaughters.

Theft, one of the most high volume crimes, has increased by 26 per-cent but drugs related offences dropped by 10.3 per-cent.

According to the ONS police numbers are at their lowest level since 1996, when comparable records began, and nearly half of investigations into recorded crimes are closed without a suspect being identified.

Chief Constable Bill Skelly, of the National Police Chiefs' Council, said: "Police forces are targeting crime hotspots, using powers of stop and search and active engagement with communities to prevent violence.

"The causes and drivers of rising violence and related crimes are complex, and so the solutions must focus on early intervention and involve a range of action from government, education, health, social services, housing and victim services.

"To bring down robbery and burglary, police target prolific offenders and links to organised crime but we also need the public to help by taking simple crime prevention measures."

Criminal damage, which includes arson and vandalising cars and houses, has gone up, from 798 incidents in 2016-17, to 900 in the latest figures.

While violence with injury, which includes assault, GBH and wounding, has dropped, however it is tough to judge as police recording in this area has improved over the last couple of years.

Similarly sexual crime statistics are hard to judge as many more victims are now coming forward due to a series of high profile cases.

In Powys there were 256 incidents recorded in 2017-18, a 10 per-cent rise on the previous year, when 232 crimes were reported.

There were also 427 cases of stalking and harassment reported over the same period.

Ché Donald, vice chairman of the Police Federation for England and Wales, commented: "These new figures are proof, as if we even needed it, that policing in the UK is on the critical list."

Police and Fire Service Minister Nick Hurd MP said: "The likelihood of being a victim remains low however, every violent crime is a significant concern and the Government is taking decisive action to tackle it".

"We recognise that crime is changing and that police demand is becoming increasingly complex."

"The statistics show that there has been a societal shift towards victims reporting ‘hidden’ crimes to the police and we welcome that more victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence are feeling empowered to come forward."