Violent crime has increased in Reading but is 11 per cent below the Thames Valley Police average, according to the police.

The statistics were highlighted by a councillor to reject a resident’s claims, at a Reading Borough Council (RBC) meeting last week, that Reading’s streets are more unsafe than other towns.

Resident Charlotte Davey, speaking at the housing, neighbourhoods and communities committee on November 14, said issues such as homelessness and safe streets, were worse in Reading than she had seen anywhere.

Councillor Sophia James, lead member for neighbourhoods and communities said: “The council and its partners are working hard to deal with these issues creatively against a backdrop of increased demand and declining resources.

“Overall this council believes Reading is a thriving, lively and welcoming town that we have a great deal to be proud of.”

Cllr James said the issues raised by Ms Davey are important and concerning, but the authority does not accept that they are worse in Reading than any other large town or city in the UK.

Violent crime in Reading was 11 per cent lower than the TVP area average in 2017/18, but has increased in the last year.

Bicycle theft and shoplifting have fallen by 25 per cent, while sexual offences have slightly increased.

Francis Habgood, TVP chief constable, announced the latest figures on crime at the policy committee on 29 October.

The police chief said the increase in violent crime in Reading was also significantly lower than in the rest of the TVP area.

He added that the increase is partly down to a huge rise in harassment, particularly on social media, which comes under the violent crime category.

Ms Davey also mentioned addiction, fly-tipping, overflowing bins and used drug paraphernalia in her list of things that are worse than she has seen anywhere else.

Cllr James praised the council’s recent efforts, alongside local charities, to tackle homelessness and drug and alcohol addiction.

In the last year, RBC reduced the number of homeless families in temporary B&Bs to single figures and introduced a multi-agency taskforce to help entrenched rough sleepers with alcohol and drug addiction.

Cllr James also highlighted work done by the council's streetcare team to reduce fly-tipping, overflowing bins and drugs paraphernalia.