CRIME in West Yorkshire has fallen, with big drops in the number of burglaries and robberies, new figures have revealed.

Latest statistics nationally show that crime has fallen to its lowest level since 1981.

But separate figures from the Home Office, based on data from 28 forces in England and Wales, indicate that police are failing to solve more than half of crimes.

The latest data from the Crime Survey for England and Wales estimated that there were 7.3 million crimes in 2013/14, down 14 per cent on the previous year and the lowest since 1981.

But separate police figures showed no change compared to the previous year, with 3.7 million offences recorded in the 12 months to March.

Overall crime in West Yorkshire was down by two per cent year-on-year compared to a national average of 1.3 per cent.

Nationally, the survey showed there were 1.3 million violent incidents - a drop of 20 per cent. But according to police figures, violence rose by six per cent, around 33,000 offences, though recorded homicides was down 21 to 537, the lowest since 1978.

Deaths by dangerous driving - such as the recent Bradford case of Mary Byrne - rose sharply in England and Wales to 282, up from 174 the previous year.

Mrs Byrne, a 51-year-old grandmother, had been in a minicab which was turning into the driveway of her home in Mandale Road, Horton Bank Top, when it was hit by a speeding BMW with an impact so great she was thrown from the vehicle and killed.

The BMW had been driven by Joseph Robinson, 22, who was jailed for five years and three months earlier this month after pleading guilty to causing death by dangerous driving. Thomas Healey, 21, who had been racing him in a powerful Ford Focus, was found guilty of the same charge and jailed for six years.

Police figures also revealed a 20 per cent rise in sex offences. Rape was up by 27 per cent, its highest level since 2002/03, and other types of sex crime were up by 17 per cent.

Among all the 43 forces, 36 had seen a rise in shoplifting, including 18 per cent in Merseyside and 17 per cent in Humberside.

Fraud was also up by 17 per cent according to police figures, and analysis showed that 5.1 per cent of bank or credit card users were victims of card fraud, up from 4.6 per cent the previous year.

Home Office data, from 28 police forces which did not include West Yorkshire, showed that in April and May this year 52 per cent of crimes were classed as "investigation complete, no suspect identified", meaning that the case is closed unless new evidence comes to light. This happened in 73 per cent of criminal damage and arson cases, 72 per cent of theft cases and 56 per cent of robbery cases.

In West Yorkshire, the year-on-year figures show that robbery is down by 11 per cent, with criminal damage and arson dropping by 6.2 per cent but sexual offences rose 11.7 per cent , shoplifting was up 6.9 per cent and violence without injury was up 17.6 per cent.

Mr Burns-Williamson said: "These figures demonstrate that West Yorkshire Police officers and staff are working incredibly hard to help bring down crime across the county as the drop below the national average shows.

"Domestic burglary is a target in the Police and Crime Plan and reducing it is a credit to the work of West Yorkshire Police and partners.

"Incidences of robbery have dropped as have criminal damage and arson which is testament to the good work West Yorkshire Police and partners are doing to ensure communities are safer and feel safer.

"The rate of sexual offences continues to be a serious concern, but that rise has slowed down, and is below the national average rise and greater awareness and reporting could be a contributing factor for this."