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 114.

    Unless you're a speeding motorist the police are invisible. Of course "recorded crime" is down, but what about actual crime? Doesn't that traditionally rise in a recession? I just don't believe it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 113.

    My bike was stolen from outside a shop by 1 person out of a gang of 9. As he cycled off the gang surrounded me and started to bate me, so i backed off and phoned the police, reply, we dont come out for stolen bikes, my reply, what about the gang threatening me, i was told to go into the shop and wait for them to leave. well what about the gang, ans = we dont come out for stolen bikes. = NO CRIME

  • rate this

    Comment number 112.

    Recorded crime down 7%, ONS says

    Maybe its been pirated

  • rate this

    Comment number 111.

    If crime figures were up, people would be on here slagging off the Police and system.

    The crime figures are down so people are on here slagging off the Police and system.

    There just ain't no pleasing some people.

  • rate this

    Comment number 110.

    Cameron on BBC News 24 now taking credit for crime figures falling over last 20 years, get off the TV

  • rate this

    Comment number 109.

    It would be good if anyone could actually explain why crime seems to be falling. Are we becoming a more honest nation? Are the police super efficient at crime prevention? Is it the fact that the prisons are full? Is it CCTV? Or is it just manipulation of the statistics? Either way someone ought to research it properly - who knows, there may be even greater savings to be made somewhere.

  • rate this

    Comment number 108.

    The idea that ‘recorded crime has fallen because people have lost faith in police so don’t bother reporting it’ would be more plausible if it wasn’t for the even bigger drop on the BCS data. I expect the drop is related to a number of factors including random fluctuation, an improving economy and bad winter/spring weather (old cops will tell you ‘The weather is the best policeman’).

  • rate this

    Comment number 107.

    The fact that people see reporting most crime to the police as a complete waste of time has probably got a considerable amount to do with the reduction crime statistics. This reminds me of the phrase,'lies, damned lies and statistics'.

  • rate this

    Comment number 106.

    There down because people have learnt that it's often a waste of time reporting a crime to the police.

  • rate this

    Comment number 105.

    What about MPs ?

    Banks ?

    Are they above the law ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 104.

    Perhaps the police no longer record playground fights between primary kids as "violent crime" that they then "solve" - as they did under Labour?

    Perhaps the new Police Commissioners are actually working?

  • rate this

    Comment number 103.

    99. Graham Paterson
    Well, if it costs more than the average annual salary to keep a prisoner for a year, is it any wonder that everyone seems to be fine to release back to the society?
    Seriously government, it's ok to cut, but don't pretend the cuts have done the rest of us a favour.

  • rate this

    Comment number 102.

    On BBC London TV news this week was the video of two people stealing tools from a van and putting them into their own car. The whole thing was captured by CCTV. Yet no police action was taken!Did this count as a crime or did the police manage to keep it off the stats? If crime is really coming down we should be glad but you can see why there is so much scepticism.

  • rate this

    Comment number 101.

    Criminals have now got a conscience aye?

    As a young male in Surrey I BELIEVE that if I have any trouble come my way I should take the law into my own hands and suffer the consequences. Involving the police usually makes things worse. Instead of just 1 bully you get the family of bullies and no police to help you.

    It just makes NO logical sense that reducing police numbers, crime rates fall.

  • rate this

    Comment number 100.

    Home Office Counting Rules. Clue is in the title.
    A young lad is robbed by a man carrying a knife who gets detained with cannabis on him. Only the crime against the person is recorded despite three crimes have occurred. The system is designed to mask what is really happening and I suspect the public already knows these figures are anything but representative.

  • rate this

    Comment number 99.

    Lies, dammed lies and statistics! Crime figures have been manipulated to suit the Government. Just the same as the lies we are told when people are sentenced to (say) 10 years in prison and then are out in four!

  • rate this

    Comment number 98.

    "Officials suggested this was due to changes in the way fraud was recorded"

    In other words not recorded.

    It reminds me of Chemical Ali in Iraq denying that the Americans had overcome Iraq's forces on TV. You could see the American Abrahms tanks rollings past in the background behind him. These people need a reality check.

  • rate this

    Comment number 97.

    Police levels are a deterrent but only because the stories on the street about how many people are caught compared to not caught.

    I'd be interested (and a little worried) to see what effect sustained low levels of policing will do as I suspect that there is a delay in the system which links levels of police and amount of crime

  • rate this

    Comment number 96.

    It's not worth reporting anything, even if the police do bother all that happens in 99% of cases if the offender is told that they have been a very naughty boy. If my house was broke into and all my worldly possessions were stolen, I wouldn't bother calling the police if it wasn't a requirement for insurance payout. Too much time spent on pandering to whims of minorities and political correctness

  • rate this

    Comment number 95.

    The last time the ONS reported a drop in the crime figures I was a little suspicious, because it didn't seem to correspond to the number of people going through the court system and into prison.

    A little digging found that they no longer report "Theft from commercial property", which of course includes shoplifting and burglary from commercial premises.

    Do you think those figure may be soaring?


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