Dorset had the sixth lowest recorded crime rate in the whole of England and Wales, new figures show.

The latest data from the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) revealed Dorset Police recorded just under 48 crimes per 1,000 people in the 12 months to March 2015.

A total of 36,082 incidents crimes were recorded by Dorset Police between April 2014 and March 2015.

Dyfed and Powys enjoyed the lowest crime rate in the whole of England and Wales at 37.5 at less than half the number recorded by Metropolitan Police for the same period.

The overall rate for England and Wales in the 12 months to March 2015 was 62.9 crimes per 1,000 people: a fall from 66 on the previous year, according to the latest data from the Home Office.

The rate of sexual offences was highest in Humberside, where police recorded an average of 1.9 crimes per 1,000 people. The lowest rate for sexual offences was Hertfordshire at 1.0. The figure was 1.3 for Dorset which is below the average of 1.5 for England and Wales. 

Shoplifting was highest in Cleveland, which recorded a rate of 10.1. This was almost four times the number for Dyfed-Powys. Dorset's figure at 4.9 was below the national average of 5.7. 

Merseyside Police recorded the highest rate of drug offences in England and Wales (6.1), almost four times higher than the lowest rate, in Gloucestershire (1.6). Dorset’s figure was 2.2.

The five highest crime rates, by police force:

1. Metropolitan Police 84.7

2. Cleveland 75.1

3. Greater Manchester 73.8

4. Humberside 72.0

5. Merseyside 70.1

The five lowest crime rates, by police force:

1. Dyfed-Powys 37.6

2. North Yorkshire 43.0

3. Surrey 43.7

4. Wiltshire 46.1

5. Devon and Cornwall 47.5