CRIME levels in Romsey have risen, the Romsey Advertiser can reveal.

The overall crime in the Romsey area has risen by 9% over the past year, with reports of thefts of vehicles and thefts from vehicles increasing from 51 in 2017 to 75 in 2018.

But while the overall figures have increased, data released by Hampshire police showed that crimes such as shoplifting and anti-social behaviours have gone down.

Now town bosses are hoping that more police officers will be sent to Romsey as police and crime commissioner Michael Lane has confirmed an extra 200 officers, 65 investigators and an unconfirmed amount of PCSOs.

According to the figures, 167 incidents of anti-social behaviours were reported to the police in 2018, 52 less than the previous year.

Overall shoplifting has decreased in Romsey town centre in 2018, down from 82 crimes in 2017 to 73 in 2018.

But the force said there was a slight increase in December 2018 with nine reports of shoplifting, six more than 2017.

However, the force said it believes this is due to retailers feeling more confident in reporting the offences as police officers and private security guards patrolled the town centre in the run-up to Christmas.

Cllr Dorothy Baverstock who, along with councillor John Ray had proposed plans for the security guards in Romsey, said the recent figures prove there is a need for PCSOs in the market town.

“It is about time that we start to get a realistic amount of police on the street because crime figures have just gone sky high. Romsey probably doesn’t have the same problems as big cities. When we see it escalating something should be done about it.”

Cllr Baverstock said she will contact the force to find out how many of the new officers will be sent to Romsey.

This comes after a meeting held on January 25 during which it was announced that more than £16 million is to be raised for Hampshire’s police force.

This means that locals will now have to pay an extra £24 a year (for a band-D home) for the 2019/20 financial year.

But Mr Lane said this is an opportunity to protect local policing services.

Hampshire police has urged Romsey residents to report crimes.

Inspector Chris Taylor said: “We would appeal for people in Romsey to report crime by calling 101 or alternatively via our website. In an emergency, use 999.

“Please bear in mind while we cannot always respond immediately to every report, all reports are reviewed and they help us build a better picture of what is happening locally and take action.”