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Rise in recorded violent crime and sexual offences

Offences linked to violent crime and sexual offences have surged across Wales, official figures released on Thursday reveal.

Wales' four police forces recorded an 18% rise in violent crime overall - South Wales alone saw an increase of 26%, with North Wales showing the lowest increase of 9%.

The rise in sexual offences by was even higher - there was a 30% increase across Wales, according to data from the Office of National Statistics.

Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

The rise was put down to improvement in recording, as well as a greater willingness of victims to come forward to report such crimes.

Overall, crime in Wales showed a 3% increase. There was a 18% drop in theft from a person and a 10% reduction in drug offences.

Until recently, police-recorded crime figures had been showing year-on-year reductions.

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Plaid doubts Welsh Govt's call for parity with Scots

Despite Carwyn Jones' position that Wales should be offered all the extra powers being given to Scotland, Plaid Cymru's claiming that the Welsh Government isn't even actively seeking the power over fracking that Scotland already has.

The people of Wales should have the power to decide on licensing for fracking in their communities. Plaid Cymru wants Wales to have responsibility over fracking so that we can introduce a moratorium on a process that carries a host of unknown risks for the environment and public health. The Scottish Government has made this happen there, but unfortunately the Welsh Government has done absolutely nothing to stand up for Wales’ interests.

It is now clear that the Labour Government has not made any representations to the UK Government for these powers to be devolved which suggests that Labour sees no need to challenge Westminster’s policy of promoting and encouraging fracking in Wales.

– Llyr Gruffydd AM, Plaid Cymru

The vow to Scotland's been kept, claims Cameron

Major new powers for the Scottish Government and Parliament will be spelt out today. They're the result of the "vow" made by David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg in the final days of the Scottish independence referendum campaign, as they sought to save the UK at a time when polls were suggesting that Scots might vote to leave the union.

Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones has called for Wales to be offered the same powers as Scotland. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

The three leaders committed their parties to enacting the new powers after the Westminster election but they also promised to publish the details of the legislation before Burns Night, on 25 January. Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones has called for Wales to be offered the same powers and the UK Government is aiming to publish a cross party agreement before St David's Day on 1 March.

The Prime Minister will be in Scotland today and will meet the Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon. The SNP leader has already said that the cross-party agreement for Scotland on which the legislation will be based does not amount to Home Rule. She claims that's what Scots were promised if they voted against independence. Mr Cameron is expected to make a speech challenging her version of events.

"In September the people of Scotland came out in record numbers to decide the future of the United Kingdom. They voted clearly and decisively to keep our family of nations together. But a ‘no’ vote did not mean ‘no change’.

The leaders of the other main political parties and I promised extensive new powers for the Scottish Parliament – a vow – with a clear process and timetable.

We said we’d get cross-party agreement by St. Andrew’s Day – and we did. We said draft legislation would be published by Burns Night – and here we are, three days before the celebrations start, with those clauses before us."

– Prime Minister David Cameron MP

The Prime Minister will claim that whoever forms the UK Government after May 7th, these new powers are guaranteed. He'll argue that the Scottish Parliament will determine how 60% of public money is spent in in Scotland and for the first time most of the money spent by the Scottish Government will come from taxes raised in Scotland. The package will include control of part of the welfare state, worth £2.5 billion.

Reading aloud is number one concern for Welsh schoolchildren

A survey has found reading aloud in class is the number one concern for 7-13-year-olds in Wales.

Almost four in 10 schoolchildren said it was their biggest worry, with the fear of being laughed at the key reason.

More than a quarter said they would prefer to read on their own in the classroom instead.

Just 16% said they would volunteer to read aloud in class. Credit: PA

When asked about maths, however, almost half said they enjoyed doing classwork, with a third saying they always put their hand up to answer a question.

The survey is part of the Welsh Government's 'Education Begins At Home' campaign to show parents how to help their children do better in school.

Launching today, a series of community roadshows are being held to offer hints and tips on how families can learn together in a way that's quick, easy and fun.

It comes at a time when the schools watchdog Estyn highlighted problems with literacy in schools, saying there is still much to be done to improve standards

Confidence issues around maths and reading out loud in class is something we often come across. Any campaign that helps parents get more actively involved in practising reading and numbers with their children at home is welcomed by us. Having children of my own, I have seen firsthand the difference it makes when the whole family gets involved in learning together.

– Cerith Lewis, Assistant Head Blackwood Comprehensive School

Visit the Education Begins at Home campaign page for more information on the road shows coming to your area.

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