Fraud offences almost doubled in the past year, according to the latest recorded crime figures released by the Central Statistics Office.

The CSO says the increase of 88% was largely driven by unauthorised transactions and attempts to obtain banking or personal information by phone or online.

There were also increases across most categories of crime including kidnapping, attempted murder and sexual offences which increased by 13%.

However, there were decreases in offences associated with organised crime including homicide, drugs, weapons and explosives offences.

The CSO figures, annualised to the end of the first three months of this year, continue the pattern for all of last year with increases in so-called white-collar crime and decreases in organised crime offences.

There were 17,354 fraud offences recorded for the twelve months up to the end of March this year, an increase of 88% or 8,135 compared with last year.

This reflects the increase in so-called "smishing" and "phishing" offences where fraudsters try and, in many cases, succeed in stealing people’s money by getting their banking and personal information either online or on the phone.

Sexual offences also increased by 13%, which means an additional sex crime was committed every day in the last twelve months.

There were increases in 12 of the 15 major crime categories including burglary (3.8%), robbery (6.8%), theft, kidnapping (38%), and public order which show an increase of over 1,700 offences.

Organised crime offences decreased with homicide down over 37%, drugs down over 25% and weapons and explosives offences down over 15%.

However, the reduction in drugs offences also reflects a reduction in Garda seizures and the first three months of this year show an increase of over 4% in weapons offences.

In relation to the improper or premature cancellation of 999 calls, the CSO said today that of the approximately 6,000 cases examined so far, 143 would have resulted in a criminal incident being recorded on the Garda PULSE system and that these have now been recorded.

There were also 85 recorded breaches of Covid-19 regulations for the first three months of this year compared to the 10,397 recorded a year ago, which the CSO says reflects the low level of Covid-19 restrictions in place compared to earlier quarters.

The figure includes unpaid fines and other offences but does not include fines which have been paid.

The CSO also says the figures are being published under reservation which means it is still not entirely satisfied with the accuracy of the Garda's crime recording system.