Violent crime has risen in Wycombe over the last year - amid warnings of an epidemic sweeping the country.

The Police Federation said officers across England and Wales were struggling to "deliver the basics", and warned the benefits of promised new recruits would not be felt for some time.

Thames Valley recorded 3,005 incidents of violent crime in Wycombe in the 12 months to June, according to the Office for National Statistics.

That was an increase of 18 per cent compared to the previous year.

At 17.2 crimes per 1,000 people, that's far lower than the rate across England and Wales, which stood at 28.7.

One of the main factors behind the increase was the increase in stalking and harassment, which rose by 88 per cent, from 367 incidents to 690.

Offences of violence without injury were recorded1,394 times, an increase of 12 per cent on the previous year, and violence with injury on 920 occasions, down by one per cent.

Overall, police recorded seven per cent more crime across England and Wales – there were more than 6 million offences in the 12 months to June.

The biggest hike was in stalking and harassment, which jumped by 37 per cent to 459,000.

However, the ONS said improvements to reporting and recording practices by police could be behind the increase.

Responding to the national figures, John Apter, chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: "These figures once again come as no surprise as officers continue to struggle to deal with delivering the basics in policing which is incredibly frustrating for them.

“With forces snowed under by demand, unable to answer all 999 calls in some cases, chiefs are having to make some difficult decisions over which services need to be reined back."

The total number of offences in Wycombe increased by four per cent, with police recording 10,574 crimes over the course of the year.

This puts the overall crime rate at 60.6 per 1,000 people, compared to a national average of 89.3.

Other crimes recorded in Wycombe included:

  • 361 sexual offences, a rise of 15 per cent
  • 3,912 theft offences, a decrease of 20 per cent
  • 1,212 incidents of criminal damage and arson, up one per cent
  • 352 drug offences, down 23 per cent
  • 102 possession of weapons such as firearms or knives, up 26 per cent
  • 507 public order offences, up 42 per cent

There was also a seven per cent increase in incidents involving knives or sharp incidents across England and Wales.

The National Police Chiefs' Council lead for crime, Chief Constable Andy Cooke, said while the rise was concerning, use of targeted stop and search and other measures had helped reduce the rate of increase.

He said: “In the past few years cuts to policing have meant we’ve become more reactive to crime. With the recruitment of additional officers we will have more people on the beat and more people investigating and preventing crime.

“I am also concerned by increases in other offences, and that too few crimes are being solved and brought to court for justice to be done.

"This is a symptom of the strain on policing as we try to manage growing crime and demand that is ever more complex."