Rates of key crimes including weapon possession and stalking have shot up in the past year.

New figures released by the Office of National Statistics today (July 19) show a 46 per cent and 48 per cent rise in the two crimes across Essex in the year ending March 2018, compared to the same period last year.

Other large increases included sexual offences (22 per cent increase), robbery (27 per cent increase) and public order offences (22 per cent increase).

Of all the major crime types, only rates of burglary decreased, with most others having double digit percentage increases.

An Essex Police spokesperson said: "Today’s crime statistics show that some types of crime are increasing nationally, including in Essex.

"We are particularly concerned about increases in violent crime and sexual offences.

"That’s why we’ve invested in specialist teams and it’s why 150 more police officers will be on Essex streets in the next year.

"A four per cent reduction in burglary, the only police area in the East of England to have fewer burglaries in the last year, is something that means communities in Essex are safer.

!We know that behind these numbers are real victims of real crimes, but the data also shows how rare these crimes are.

"Fewer than 8 people in every 1,000 in Essex experience violence with injury crime and fewer than 1 in every 1,000 experience robbery.”

While the rise in crime in Essex was echoed across England and Wales, the county was hit less severely by knife crime and murder rate increases.

Compared to the previous year, there was a four per cent increase in crimes involving a knife and, at 24 murders, no increase in the homicide rate.

That compares with a 16 and 12 per cent rise in knife crimes and murders respectively across England and Wales.