Soft sentences and the street light switch-off are to blame for a 40 per cent rise in serious violent crime, it has been claimed.

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

Dean Russell, manager and doorman at Scenarios, in Trinity Street, Halstead, praised the efforts of police and believes over lenient sentences and the decision to switch off street lights at night have both contributed to the rise.

Detective Inspector Alan Stevens, of Braintree CID, said only 23 of the 42 incidents were serious enough to be dealt with by CID.

Of CID’s 23, people have been charged with 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 that 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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