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 214.

    It does feel a little bit like crime may be falling, in particular seems to be less antisocial behaviour than 10 or so years ago.

  • rate this

    Comment number 213.

    Falling crime.

    Rising educational standards.

    Immigration reduction.

    Gosh everything sounds wonderful here in the UK.

    Before you know it, the price of petrol will be falling and my employer will be throwing even more money at me.

    Time to sit in my deckchair...

  • rate this

    Comment number 212.

    As they say: "there are lies, bl**dy lies, statistics and finally government statistics".

  • rate this

    Comment number 211.

    Note: the figures are for crimes actually reported to police AND recorded by police. They don't include petty crimes which aren't reported because the victim knows the police will do nothing, or crimes which are reported but not recorded because the police persuade the victim that it's unlikely they can do anything. If all those could be added in we might see the true picture.

  • rate this

    Comment number 210.

    Crime rates across Britain vary hugely by area. See this crime map - Rural areas generally have the lowest crime levels whereas the highest are in the inner cities. It would be interesting to see where crime has fallen most; probably not in the inner cities.

  • rate this

    Comment number 209.

    one of the main categories to rise was "theft from the person" - including pickpocketing and snatching of bags and mobile phones - up 9%.
    [STATISTICALLY] It looks like the police are now out and about but only enough staff to record pick pocketing and handbag thefts.

    The serious fraud squad is too busy investigating too many ongoing that it is getting serious.

    Lighten up (;-0)

  • rate this

    Comment number 208.

    I doubt if these figures are correct. I presume somebody has stolen a large part of the data.

  • rate this

    Comment number 207.

    To further my previous comment (182) My friend receive joined the force, I am very proud of her as she always wanted to become an officer, however she has stated some officers feel de-motivated by the lack of punishment being allowed to be given, crime seems to be a luxury, criminal record like a CV.

  • rate this

    Comment number 206.

    Has anyone on here actually read the whole article or just what they would like to read.
    Although the percentage of record-able offences have dropped the data from the crime survey has also shown a drop in crimes, the crime survey is designed to pick up unreported crimes specifically and often shows a greater number of crimes than the forces report.

    you cynical lot

  • rate this

    Comment number 205.

    #194 Spot on, but I think the govt have already thought of that one. Possibly the 'reductio ad absurdum' that means that if there are no cops, there will be nobody to record the crime, unless new cybercrimes like criticising the govt online introduced. Figures as credible as the drop in unemployment, i.e. people claiming JSA.

  • rate this

    Comment number 204.

    Let's not forget that part of the decrease has probably also been about dealing with corrupt police themselves. Phone hacking, plebgate, Hilsborough, amongst others have all led to officer arrest/resignations/sackings.

    Increase accountability and transparency in the police force, and see a decrease of both police and non-police criminals.

  • rate this

    Comment number 203.

    The UK banned Lead in Petrol in 1998. Fifteen years later crime is declining even with lower numbers of police.

  • rate this

    Comment number 202.

    Someone people just can't accept good results hen they wanted stuff to fail. Credit where credit is due. Well done trimming down a bloated force and well done in continuing to bring down crime

  • rate this

    Comment number 201.

    1. This is not just the police making up stats, there is evidence from the British Crime Survey that crime is decreasing. This asks members of the public whether they have been victims of crime, regardless of whether it was reported to the police. Anyone with any knowledge of the CJS will know this.

    2. Anecdotal stories of 'this or that happened to me' makes no difference. It is what it is.

  • rate this

    Comment number 200.

    Statistics will tell the truth, but only if they are complete and pure.

    So, why dismiss this news? Well, firstly there's the issue of how many crimes are not reported or logged. Secondly, it's about comparing apples and oranges.

    The only reliable dataset for prevalence of crime is a homicide body count. But even this can be misleading - 100 years ago "illegal abortions" classed as homicide.

  • rate this

    Comment number 199.


    166. Charlie Farley

    ...It is merely a perception, based on what?
    Erm, from personal experience with the police maybe???
    I'm sure an expert psychiatrist would have a field day with you lot
    Yes, now who's ranting...?

  • rate this

    Comment number 198.


    Whoops, typo (which doesn't help with the BBCs stupid, ten minute throttle and/or lack of edit button):

    I meant to write hack, not have.

  • rate this

    Comment number 197.

    Lots of people on about unrecorded crime being the reason.

    -from the article " The Crime Survey, which is based on people's experience of crime and includes offences which aren't reported..."

    Please read the full story before complaining about unrecorded crime being the reason. But I guess its up to all of you to call it a lie or not. Personally I've noticed my area isn't bad as when I was young

  • rate this

    Comment number 196.

    For the last 6 years of my police service I was involved in the recording of crime for my area as per the National Crime Recording rules for every crime that is recorded there are at least 6 or 7 that dont. This is because the NCR rules are written so that the least number of crimes get recorded not the correct number so i would advises that whatever the number times it by 5 at least.

  • rate this

    Comment number 195.

    Will the ONS please publicly recognise that RECORDED crime figures are not representative of ACTUAL crime committed.
    Many crimes are not reported because:-

    A) the police are too under-funded to persue minor crime thoroughly and,
    B) the prosecution service are so under-funded that they have no choice other than to decline to prosecute most minor cases of reported crime.


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