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 154.

    23. modus - "I was assaulted by a complete stranger...My nose was broken, & 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....".

    Perhaps you should have claimed some minority status, 'hate crimes' the police love 'em!

  • rate this

    Comment number 153.

    It's so sad everyone must be so cynical. Crime will inevitably rise and fall, why not just accept that last year has seen an improvement? People just love having something to moan about.

  • rate this

    Comment number 152.

    People seem to expect crime rates to have risen every year - a consequence of the fear of crime being greater than actual crime levels.

    This isn't a new phenomenon. The highest-rated comments, disputing the statistics, would have been the same 10 years or go, and will be the same in 10 years time.

  • rate this

    Comment number 151.

    Of course crime reports are down. Have you been to a Police station to make a report in recent times. You will be very hard pushed to find a Police Station which is open to the Public. Police responsibility has been decrease over the past 10 to 15 years. First they had responsibliity for dags taken away then Parking, Property.

  • rate this

    Comment number 150.

    Nothing new in it being a waste of time reporting crime. My father ran a haulage business, lorry cabs were regularly broken into and drivers things stolen overnight.The police station was 200 yds away and the police would stroll down 2 or 3 days later. In the end they would leave cabs unlocked to avoid damage and remove anything not nailed down. This was the 70's.

  • rate this

    Comment number 149.

    Stat's in themselves mean very little can manipulate them SO easily.
    What does count is how the public view the work of, and the effectiveness of the police service.
    The other day I saw two officers giving a ticket to someone who had momentarily pulled up on the pavement outside their home to unload their shopping....SORRY, not my idea of good policing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 148.

    What a joke.

    You've only got to look around to see what a lawless society we all live in today. Litter everywhere, folks driving using a mobiles, parking on pavements/double lines, dangerous dogs, drunks in town centres etc All tolerated by our lazy police who like in the Simpsons would rather sit about in an office sending out speeding/parking fines.

  • rate this

    Comment number 147.

    Amazing ONS keep coming out with reports that makes everything look rosy for the government & making them look good & competent were the opposite is true

  • rate this

    Comment number 146.

    This just reflects the apathy of the gen public. Many (often with justification) don't bother to report a mugging, theft, abuse/assault, dangerous driving, vandalism. My dealings with police in recent years have only left me frustrated and in no doubt that if you are not particularly affluent, you are not going to be offered the support/protection that others enjoy. But if you know Prince Harry..

  • rate this

    Comment number 145.

    So the police could be not recording crime that is happening. But "The Crime Survey for England and Wales measures the extent of crime in England and Wales by asking people whether they have experienced any crime in the past year." and also shows a fall in crime.

    Crime improvements, better exam results, other stuff, also fit switch to unleaded petrol: fewer brain-damaged kids growing up.

  • rate this

    Comment number 144.

    Do they really expect us to swallow thiis crap. ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 143.

    Oh, and one other point - the police in Surrey can't even cope with policing the roads, let alone the usual day-to-day crime prevention. As per my post 129, my friend (the police sergeant) has told me that Guildford, a sizeable town, only has 2 traffic vehicles allocated to police its roads - and they travel down from nearby Cobham. I asked him why this is? He said traffic was a 'low priority'.

  • rate this

    Comment number 142.

    Recorded crime falling.

    Recorded unemployment falling.

    Meanwhile, in the REAL world, unrecorded crime and unrecorded unemployment is rampant.

  • Comment number 141.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 140.

    I find it interesting that people are calling these reports lies.
    Out of interest, what are you basing that claim on?
    Do you have proof that crime is not in fact falling?
    If so, I would love that we could call them out on it.

    Or is it just the typical negative attitude of HYS posters?
    I feel the later is the case. Me, I'm hoping that this report is true.

  • rate this

    Comment number 139.

    Crime down what Rubbish, you want to live in my area. Cameron needs to get out more and speak to real people and not look at a piece of paper with figures on it .

  • Comment number 138.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 137.

    "Recorded crime"?
    Does that mean crime is going down or people at the office are getting lazier?
    I never trust these statistics anyways, they are always manipulated to show the good and hide the bad.

  • rate this

    Comment number 136.


    I prefer facts and the facts STATE that the police are not recording all CRIME.
    Ok, but is this a new thing? I doubt one in four people have suddenly in the past year stopped reporting crimes. I find it hard to believe that such a large number of people have stopped reporting to show a 7% drop where there is not one.

  • rate this

    Comment number 135.

    Can anyone who thinks that the 7% drop in recorded crime is because people have lost faith in the police so don’t bother reporting it, explain why the British Crime Survey (which asks people what crimes they have a been a victim of regardless of if it was reported to police) has recorded a 9% drop?


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