HAMPSHIRE’S police force is in the top half of the country for its performance.

The latest crime statistics, released by the Office for National Statistics this week, have shown that Hampshire Constabulary is performing strongly and is in the top half of forces across the UK.

Detective Superintendent Robert Maker, temporary head of Hampshire Constabulary’s crime standards department, said: “Hampshire and the Isle of Wight continue to be some of the safest counties of the country to live, work and visit.

“The integrity of crime statistics has recently come under scrutiny. However, we are confident that the strict audit and compliance procedures employed by Hampshire Constabulary provide reassurance that the recently released statistics on violent crime are a true reflection of our commitment to protect people from harm and our continued efforts to robustly deal with violent offenders.”

The number of domestic abuse incidents recorded in the force area has increased slightly due to better crime detection rates and a commitment to helping victims to be able to come forward, say police.

Superintendent Ben Snuggs said: “Domestic abuse is a key priority for Hampshire Constabulary.

“A wide variety of crimes are classified as domestic abuse related in line with the Home Office definition.

“During 2013 this definition changed to include 16 and 17 year olds and cases where coercion or control was used.

“There are many reasons why domestic abuse crimes also remain under-reported and Hampshire Constabulary has done a lot of work this year to encourage victims, perpetrators, family members and work colleagues to speak out about domestic abuse, report it and seek help.

There is also some really good practice in place with GPs to help victims feel confident to report domestic abuse where, for example, they do not want to initially report directly to the police.”