Serious violent crime has increased by 40 per cent in the last year, according to worrying new statistics from Essex Police.

Statistics released ahead of the district’s latest public meeting with Essex police and crime commissioner, Nick Alston, last week showed there were 12 more offences recorded between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2014, compared with the same period a year earlier.

Of the Braintree district’s 42 serious violent crimes, 14 have been attributed to the night-time economy.

GBH, attempted murder and causing death by driving are among the offences defined as serious violent crime.

Concerned residents claim a lack of police presence, slow response times and over lenient sentences have all contributed to the rise.

But Det Insp Alan Stevens, of Braintree CID, said only 23 of the 42 incidents were serious enough to be dealt with by his team.

Out of those 23 incidents, people were charged for 70 per cent of them, while 30 per cent were domestic related.

He said: “Overall, violent crime has decreased slightly, by 1.1 per cent.

“It can therefore be seen the Braintree district does not have an overly violent crime issue and still remains a safe place to visit and for people to enjoy an evening out.”

Overall crime in the district has fallen by 5.6 per cent, with 335 less offences recorded in 2013/14.

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