THE crime rate in Dorset ​dropped slightly last year, new crime statistics show, ​despite an increased police workload ​elsewhere across England and Wales.

The Office for National Statistics's crime data shows that police recorded 19,396 crimes in the area during the 12 months to September.

That meant a rate of 52 offences for every 1,000 households in the area, compared to an England and Wales average of 85 per 1,000.

It was also a decrease on the number of offences in the previous year, when 19,593 were recorded.

Across England and Wales, the number of police recorded crimes rose by 5% in the year to September, to just over 5 million offences. The figures exclude Greater Manchester, where they are recorded differently.

Knife crime hit a record high, up by 7% on the previous 12 months, but the total number of homicides recorded by police fell by 6%, from 654 to 617.

Meanwhile, separate figures also released on Thursday show that the proportion of crimes in England and Wales resulting in a charge or summons remained largely the same as the previous year, at 7.3% in the 12 months to September.

Commenting on the national figures, John Apter, national chairman of the Police Federation, said: "Until policing has the resources it needs, these increases in recorded crime will continue to increase.

"Society has become a more violent place and the police cannot and should not be expected to fight this crime epidemic alone.

"We need more support from other areas of the public sector.

"This is not a simple problem to fix."

He reiterated calls for "long-term, sustainable funding", adding that cash pledges made by the Government are "a move in the right direction" but they are not enough to undo the "damage" of previous cuts.

Helen Ross, from the ONS centre for crime and justice, said: "In the last year, there has been no change in overall levels of crime, however this hides variations in different types of crime.

"Although the number of offences involving a knife has continued to increase, there is a mixed picture across police forces – and overall levels of violence remain steady."