Crime has fallen over the last year in Cornwall, despite warnings of an "epidemic sweeping the nation".

But the Police Federation said officers across England and Wales were struggling to "deliver the basics", and warned the benefits of promised new recruits would not be felt for some time.

Devon and Cornwall recorded 28,756 offences in Cornwall in the 12 months to June, according to the Office for National Statistics.

That was a decrease of two per cent compared to the previous year, when there were 29,434.

At 51 crimes per 1,000 people, that's far lower than the rate across England and Wales, which stood at 89.

Crimes recorded in Cornwall included:

1,237 sexual offences, a decrease of one per cent

11,231 violent offences, a rise of six per cent

4,456 incidents of criminal damage and arson, down one per cent

957 drug offences, up four per cent

236 possession of weapons such as firearms or knives, up two per cent

1,700 public order offences, down nine per cent

6,451 theft offences, down 31 per cent

Overall, police recorded seven per cent more crime across England and Wales – there were more than 6 million offences in the 12 months to June.

The biggest hike was in stalking and harassment , which jumped by 37 per cent to 459,000.

However, the ONS said improvements to reporting and recording practices by police could be behind the increase.

Responding to the national figures, John Apter, chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: "These figures once again come as no surprise as officers continue to struggle to deal with delivering the basics in policing which is incredibly frustrating for them.

“With forces snowed under by demand, unable to answer all 999 calls in some cases, chiefs are having to make some difficult decisions over which services need to be reined back."

There was also a seven per cent increase in incidents involving knives or sharp incidents across England and Wales.

The National Police Chiefs' Council lead for crime, Chief Constable Andy Cooke, said while the rise was concerning, use of targeted stop and search and other measures had helped reduce the rate of increase.

He said: “In the past few years cuts to policing have meant we’ve become more reactive to crime. With the recruitment of additional officers we will have more people on the beat and more people investigating and preventing crime.

“I am also concerned by increases in other offences, and that too few crimes are being solved and brought to court for justice to be done.

"This is a symptom of the strain on policing as we try to manage growing crime and demand that is ever more complex."