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.


"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.


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

    Comment number 34.

    Dont record crime so it "drops", then we can cut back on police numbers as a fall in crime means "savings can be made" on security. Livings standards carry on falling, people come out onto the street and because the security forces will be understaffed they may even have to, unfortunately and regretfully of course, call the army in and ramp up survailence! Or maybe not, but it wouldn't suprise me!

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    For all of those commenting that folk are not reproting crime, or the police massaging the numbers, do read the article as the crime survey shows a greater drop!
    Well done to the police in making an actual real difference, just a pity that it seems a vocal part fo the population refuse to see it. (Lets hope it is a small minority.)

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    And unrecorded crime rates ?

    I'm sure you have an idea , but this appears to be another poor attempt at fudging the real figures.

    Is it election time ? just wondering why these tainted figures have been released.

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    How many other 'government statistics' are stitched up to deceive the voters and constituents? The integrety of political parties need to be thouroughly investivated by Independent agencies (NOT the police)

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    Im sorry I just do not believe it ! The prisons are bursting to full ! We have more and more poor eastern europeans here now reaking havock, I think they have found a way of hiding crimes to make the figures, anyway I expect the Police will tell us the real truth as they hate this gov also !

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    Surely taking a mobile phone out of the hand of some moron with their head down as they text, whilst paying no attention to their surroundings, walking into the path of everyone and everything without any concern - surely this is a service to the community and not a crime.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    The key word here is 'recorded'

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    The police don't need to record crimes that is a waste of time, just give the scallies a good slap, telling them next time it will be a good kicking.
    Even the thickest of thieves will eventually learn.

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    Crime down, unemployment down, economy picking up, Qatada gone and things looking like they are generally getting better.
    Where has all the Labour scaremongering gone?

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    Then unrecorded crime must be up.

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    Absolute lies and propaganda. It should be made a criminal record to 1. Not record crime 2. Not investigate it. 3. Politicians lie about it.

    "Up to one in four incidents ignored by police should have been recorded as a crime, the police watchdog warned today." (HM Inspectorate of Constabulary)

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    I was assaulted by a complete stranger, for no reason, on Oxford Street in the middle of the day. My nose was broken, and this was all caught on several CCTV cameras. The police did everything to convince me not to pursue the case, calling it a waste of their time and the tax-payers' money. It seems only murder is taken seriously anymore. And petty violations of health and safety rules.

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    Ah more statistics & what doesn't get written down doesn't become a statistic.

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    evrybody in real life knows crime is increasing, it just goes unreported more and more as the police cant be bothered

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    The clue is in the title 'recorded crime'. Most people have realised by now that calling the police and recording a crime is an almost pointless enterprise. Unless you need a crime number for the insurance claim etc., why bother. The police either can't be bothered or are unable to solve anything but the worst crimes. So, people have simply stopped bothering to report them. Hence, figures drop.

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    Or theres 7% fewer police officers hence 7% less recorded crime :)

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    Depends how you record the statistics. The other day there was a person driving erratically, weaving from side to side, hitting the kerb, swinging across lanes and varying speed. Either on drink drugs or both. dialed 999 to report it with number plate, like a good citizen. I was told that unless I went to the police station to make an official statement it would be taken no further. Roll eyes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    But this doesn't take into account those who have not been brought to book for putting this country in the financial mess it is in.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    Don't forget the bit were you ring up the police and they ask you to do their job for them and then they might get back to you within the next three to four days...or not.

    After all using a housing estate road as your test track for car improvements and acceleration tests doesn't really need police intervention.

    The grandchildren are young with good reactions....

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    I would think that perception of crime levels is more strongly correlated to media portrayals than actual crime levels, pretty sure the comments on this are going to prove me very right :)


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