CRIMES of violence in Dorset have rocketed by 25 per cent in a year.

Latest figures reveal there were 17,950 offences of violence against the person in the year to December 2018 compared with 14,329 in 2017.

Overall crime in the county went up by nine per cent to 53,099 offences compared with 48,717.

Offences of stalking and harassment went up by a whopping 75 per cent from 2,336 to 4,087 with sex offences and robbery also showing marked increases.

Police yesterday said Dorset remains one of the safest counties in the UK.

A spokesperson from the force said: “The Office of National Statistics (ONS) have released their crime figures for the period of 12 months to December 2018 which show a rise in recorded crime in Dorset.

“Latest figures on recorded crime in Dorset have shown an increase of nine per cent compared to the national average of 7.1 per cent.

“While there has been some genuine increase in crime, improvements to the way Dorset Police records crimes, coupled with more robust enforcement, also forms part of this increase.

“Public order offences are up by 56.7 per cent in Dorset.

“This increase is largely a result of improved recording, particularly around the recording of harassment in public places and threatening behaviour.

“Dorset has seen a decrease in theft from a vehicle, which is down 13.8 per cent on the same period the previous year.

“This is likely to be partly a result of changing practices of people no longer leaving valuable items in cars and therefore reducing the risk of break ins.

“In terms of crimes per 1,000 population, Dorset ranks as the 13th safest county in the country, up from 14th in the 12-month period to September 2018.

“While there has been a rise in crime, the likelihood of being a victim is still very low and Dorset remains one of the safest counties to live, work and visit in the country.”

Across England and Wales knife crime rose to record levels last year.

Police recorded 40,829 offences involving knives or sharp instruments in 2018, up 6 per cent on the year before.

The figures, released by the Office for National Statistics, show cases of murder and manslaughter, excluding terror attacks, also rose by 12 per cent. There were 732 killings, up from 655 in 2017 and the highest since 2007. Three of the killings took place in Dorset.

In October last year, the Daily Echo reported that the number of domestic burglaries reported in Dorset has spiralled by more than three hundred per cent in just 12 months.

The figure includes burglaries to outbuildings.

At that time, the overall number of offences were up eight per cent for the year until June 2018.