SERIOUS violent crime has been described as being at “crisis point” in Yorkshire.

A new report from the Tony Blair Institute, an organisation set up by the former Prime Minister, has revealed the rising scale of crime in the region.

The organisation says West Yorkshire has seen a 91 per cent increase in all recorded crime (December 2014 to December 2018) and a 115 per cent increase in knife crime (March 2014 to March 2018).

On a Yorkshire wide level, those figures stand at 65 per cent and 99 per cent.

The report looks at crime rates across the country and the Government has been accused of losing grip on crime.

The institute is now calling for the Government to commit to a new five-year plan which expands enforcement powers to tackle knife possession and drug dealing and re-focuses the priorities of the National Crime Agency and local police forces to explicitly include the disruption of drugs markets like heroin and crack cocaine.

It also wants to see investment into early intervention, stronger leadership from the Home Office and a new, long-term financial settlement for policing to ensure there are enough officers.

Harvey Redgrave, Senior Policy Fellow at the Tony Blair Institute, said: “The government have lost their grip on crime in England and Wales. Fuelled by the supply of harmful drugs, serious violence is now out of control and the police don’t have the numbers to deal with it.

"As we’ve seen, the result has been too few crimes being detected and criminals being prosecuted.

“As a matter of urgency, the government must set out a five year plan to bear down on crime and disrupt the supply of and demand for harmful drugs.

"That strategy must expand enforcement powers, such as stop and search; review the role of the National Crime Agency in tackling drug supply; and invest in early intervention.”

Some of the report’s key findings include a rapid increase in serious violence, which is increasing in both volume and severity and spreading outside of urban areas; rises in burglary and vehicle theft, plus experiences of anti-social behaviour at their highest point in over a decade.

The institute says the trends are not isolated, but part of an “interconnected story” around the demand and supply of dangerous drugs.

On top of this, it says those most impacted by crime, both victims and perpetrators, are increasingly drawn from among the poorest and most vulnerable communities.

West Yorkshire Police were contacted for comment, but were unable to respond by the time of going to press.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The Government is tackling the root causes of violent crime by placing a greater emphasis on early intervention alongside tough law enforcement.

“The Serious Violence Strategy acknowledges drugs are a major driver of young people being drawn into a life of crime and the Home Secretary has commissioned an independent review to look into the ways in which drugs are fuelling serious violence.

“Together with the drugs review, we are investing £220m into preventing children and young people being drawn into crime and have consulted on a public health approach to tackling serious violence.”

The Home Office added that Professor Dame Carol Black has been appointed to carry out a major review of drug misuse and that tackling the drugs threat is a key focus of the National Crime Agency's 2019 National Strategic Assessment.

Last month, £35 million was allocated for Violence Reduction Units to Police and Crime Commissioners in the worst affected areas across in England and Wales.

"This is in addition to the recent £65 million surge funding already provided to police forces. The additional investment comes from the £100 million serious violence fund announced by the Government in March as part of its continued action to crack down on violent crime," said the spokesperson.

The Home Office also highlighted that more officers are being empowered to authorise enhanced stop and search powers in a bid to tackle knife crime, while The Offensive Weapons Act introduces new laws which will give police extra powers to seize dangerous weapons.