Page last updated at 11:13 GMT, Thursday, 2 July 2009 12:13 UK

Violent crimes 'rise by quarter'

Violent crimes in Northern Ireland have risen by 22%
Violent crimes in Northern Ireland have risen by 22%

Violent crimes such as killings and firearms offences have risen by 22% in Northern Ireland, according to figures.

In rural areas, that figure rose by nearly 28% whilst there was a rise of 16% in urban areas.

The figures compare April to June last year with the same period this year and were revealed in a Policing Plan published on Thursday.

Ulster Unionist Basil McCrea, from the Policing Board, said the figures were "shocking" and urged urgent action.

"I am alarmed that life in Northern Ireland appears to be becoming more violent at the more serious end of the scale," he said.

"These increases are shocking and I would call upon all those involved within the criminal justice system to take heed of these figures and to strategically tackle it."

Serious, violent crimes include murder, manslaughter, infanticide, child destruction, attempted murder, causing death by dangerous driving and aggravated vehicle taking.

Also included in the list are wounding with intent, firearms or explosives offences endangering life, administering poison and wounding.

The overall crime rate for the quarter is up by 4.8%.

Mr McCrea said: "We must put measures in place to stop this worrying trend in its tracks.

"It is vital that the police provide a real deterrent by showing a visible policing presence in our neighbourhoods.

"However, we also need to ensure that criminals know that the sentences they will receive from the courts will be swift, sharp and robust."

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