Recorded crime 'falls by 7% in England and Wales'

 
Prime Minister David Cameron visits community police in Hertfordshire Prime Minister David Cameron hailed the figures as "good news" at a time of police cuts

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Crimes recorded by police in England and Wales fell by 7% in the year ending March 2013, according to the Office for National Statistics.

There were reductions in nearly all the main categories of crime including violence, but sexual offences rose 1%.

Separate data from the Crime Survey for England and Wales showed the number of crimes had fallen 9% since a year ago.

And the Home Office said the number of police officers had fallen to below 130,000 - 4,500 fewer than last year.

Prime Minister David Cameron hailed the figures as "good news" at a time of police cuts and thanked the service for its efforts.

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"We have asked them to do more with less resources. They have performed, I think, magnificently," he said.

Labour welcomed the figures, but said there was "worrying evidence" the service provided by the police was "being hollowed out" with cuts to the number of officers.

Despite the wider drop in recorded crime, one of the main categories to rise was "theft from the person" - including pick-pocketing and snatching of bags and mobile phones - up 9%.

'Great tribute'

The stealing of phones out of people's hands as they walk along the street was a particular issue in London, BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw said.

Home Office Minister Jeremy Browne: "This is a really spectacular fall"

Fraud offences have also seen a big rise, up 27%. Officials suggested this was due to changes in the way fraud was recorded, with a more centralised approach.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) said it was also an indication more fraud was being committed online.

Statisticians attributed the rise in sexual offences to the "Yewtree effect" - referring to Scotland Yard's operation set up after the Jimmy Savile scandal.

They suggested the number of sexual offences reported could continue to rise over the coming months, as people come forward to report historic offences.

The Crime Survey, which is based on people's experience of crime and includes offences which aren't reported, now shows offending is at its lowest level since the survey began in 1981.

Our correspondent said levels of crime had been falling since the mid 1990s, but there were some indications the decrease may now be slowing.

Graph

On LBC Radio, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said falling crime figures were "one of the great triumphs of recent years" and "a great tribute to the police".

The Home Office has also released figures on the number of police officers, showing there were 129,584 officers at the end of March - 14,000 fewer than in 2010 and the lowest number of officers since 2002.

Officer numbers fell in 37 of the 43 forces last year - with the largest percentage decreases in the City of London force and Staffordshire. In the Met there were 1,742 fewer officers.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper welcomed the fall in crime, which she said was in line with longer-term trends.

She added: "The police are doing an impressive job in increasingly difficult circumstances... but Acpo have warned that the full effect of the cuts is not yet being felt.

"As the government has made it so much harder for the police, they should not try to take credit for the work the police and communities are doing."

 

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  • rate this
    +16

    Comment number 14.

    Question -

    Has crime actually fallen or has our easily manipulated finance and political driven tick box system of proving something is working even whan it's not been brought into play yet again?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 13.

    Of course recorded crime would be down due to:

    1) The public has lost confidence in the force and legal system, why report a crime when they dont bother looking for the criminal or they get off with a warning
    2) Officers write false reports, why report criminal damage when you can write a badger did it and not have it recorded as a crime!
    3) Victimization for reporting the crime.

  • rate this
    +22

    Comment number 12.

    "Recorded" being the operative word.

  • rate this
    -12

    Comment number 11.

    Welcome news espectially that normally during a prolonged down turn you kind of expect crime figures to rise. It is of concern that street robberies and sexual offences are increasing though and these do need to be tackled without any complacency which could be brought about by a mentality of 'oh well overal crime is down'.
    As to the doom and gloom merhcants. THe crime survey shows a greater drop

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 10.

    Levels of crime and perception of crime are an interesting topic.

    I wouldn't be at all surprised if there was an inverse relationship when you get down to the levels we have - the less there is the more it sticks out and people take notice, increasing their perception.

    That said, it would be nice to get to Australian levels, where petty acquisitive crime seemed to be almost non-existent.

  • rate this
    +13

    Comment number 9.

    .

    Recorded crime down 7%?!? What's the rise in apathy, I wonder?

    .

  • rate this
    +23

    Comment number 8.

    Note "Crimes recorded"
    The police are well known for logging reported crimes as lesser offenses so as to play down the figures because of a target culture.
    These figures are worthless.
    I had things stolen from my garden only last week... did I bother calling the police? No because there is nothing they can or will bother to do. This is why crime figures drop

  • rate this
    +14

    Comment number 7.

    They will batter on about actual crime rates and perceived rates. The issue isn't whether the public perceive more crime, its whether the police can spare the time to perceive the crime happening around them.

    When you have targets to reduce anything the first thing the monkey in the system looks for is a means to fiddle the figures. Look for the wrench and you will find the unreported crime.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 6.

    Is this because the Met have had to stop taking bribes?

  • rate this
    +17

    Comment number 5.

    I dont belive crime is falling at all...Lies, lies lies...The crimes that many Police officers have recently been found guilty of is enough to raise the crime stats on its own!

    This is not to mention the way cautions have been used.

    Phone for a pizza, then phone for a policeman see which comes first !

  • rate this
    +16

    Comment number 4.

    where do they get these figures from? the mind boggles just another con from a body that does exactly what they are told!

  • rate this
    +38

    Comment number 3.

    Veyr easy to reduce the level of recorded crime simply by not recording it!

  • rate this
    +53

    Comment number 2.

    Well done! The tactics used at police stations to convince people not to report a crime has worked out! And not taking action where nobody is there to complain in the first place worked a charm too! Statistics tweaked, government happy! Don't bother with real life as you might come to a totally different conclusion!
    It would be laughable if it wouldn't be so appalling!

  • rate this
    +31

    Comment number 1.

    ....due mainly to the fact that it is futile ringing the police with minor crime as:- 1) the police aren't interested and 2) no-one will be caught / prosecuted anyway

 

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