Violent and sexual offences increased in Kingston during December according to official statistics.

The UK Crime Statistics authority revealed the December crime statistics for Kingston on Wednesday, January 30.

According to the statistics, 28.4 per cent of offences committed in Kingston under the post code including Kingston station were of a violent and/or sexual nature, up almost 10 per cent from 20.9 per cent in November.

The total number of violent/sexual offences in the area also rose from 143 during November to 162 during December in total, which was the highest total of such incidents for any month in 2018.

The December 2018 total represented a marked rise from the previous year. Violent/sexual offences in this area during December 2017 were significantly lower (105) according to the statistics.

Speaking to the Comet, Council Leader Liz Green (Liberal Democrats) said that policing cuts at the regional and national level should be considered when examining the data.

Cllr Green said: "With police officer numbers across London now at their lowest level for 20 years and crime rates rising, the Conservative Government and the Labour Mayor of London must each shoulder some of the blame for budget cuts and falling police numbers.

"I have raised both the number of police officers and the appalling response rates in Kingston directly with Sadiq Khan, who is in charge of funding London's police, and with Cressida Dick, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police."

Metropolitan Police data indicated that these types of offences had increased during 2018 and from November to December 2018 but at a lower rate in Grove ward.

The Met's own statistics presented data on a ward by ward basis, with Grove Ward representing the area including the town centre.

Met figures for the ward showed 94 violent/sexual offences in December 2017 and 100 offences for December 2018. 

This represented a 4 per cent increase, lower than the average increase for the same period across the Met's authority, which was 8.3 per cent. 

Speaking to the Comet, Police Inspector Nick Milton of Kingston Safer Neighbourhoods said that the police were aware of the increase in these types of crimes in Kingston town centre both during December and throughout 2018.

PI Milton said: "We understand the issue and we have done a lot of work around this, both engagement with partners in the town centre as well as police enforcement, to try and get a long term resolution to bringing down these types of offences.

"In December we ran a winter night operation which was both enforcement and engagement...on the historically busier nights so December 14 and 21, and New Year's Eve, and whilst the Christmas market was on, we had extra officers to patrol the area as well."

Despite the rise in violent/sexual offences, incidents in the town centre classified as 'anti-social' fell significantly during December according to the Crime Statistics authority data.

Anti-social behaviour offences fell from 139 during November to 78 during December.

In percentage terms, that equated a drop from 20.3 per cent to 13.7 per cent.

Monday (February 4) marked the start of Sexual Violence and Abuse Awareness week. Local and regional authorities across the UK called on those affected by sexual abuse to contact the Unite Against Violence and Abuse (UAVA) support group. UAVA can be contacted on 0808 80 200 28, or at