National policing lead on crime statistics, Chief Constable Jeff Farrar said:

"It is encouraging that the number of crimes reported to the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) has fallen by 10 per cent when compared with last year. This is the lowest estimate over the entire history of the survey, which began in 1981 and is now less than half of its peak in 1995."

"There has also been a three per cent fall in police recorded crime and it is positive that both measures continue to indicate that crime is falling across the country, and that the gap between the two sets of figures continues to narrow.

"The reduction of crime shown in the CSEW includes significant reductions in vehicle and property crime, alongside personal crime. While there has been an increase in the amount of shoplifting and theft from the person recorded by police, there were reductions across the main categories of police recorded crime - such as a nine per cent decrease in the number of offences involving knives and sharp instruments, and a five per cent decrease in the number of offences involving firearms.

"The number of sexual offences recorded by police has increased by 17 per cent. Many of these are historical offences, recorded in the wake of multiple high-profile cases which have encouraged victims to come forward.

"We would always encourage anyone who has suffered abuse, no matter how much time has passed, to report it and have their voice heard. It's also incredibly important that anyone who has been through the trauma of abuse or sexual assault is provided with support for what they've been through.

"Fraud has continued to be a focus for police forces across England and Wales, and the service recently introduced a more efficient centralised crime recording system. This move towards centralised recording is considered to be responsible, in part, for the 34 per cent increase in fraud offences recorded by the police in the year ending September 2013, when compared to the same period in 2012.

"Accurate crime statistics are not only essential in holding police accountable for the work they do in the ongoing fight against crime, but also vital in ensuring that police officers and staff are deployed to the right place at the right time.

"It is disappointing that the UK Statistics Authority has decided to remove the National Statistics designation from police recorded crime statistics as this has come at a time when the service is working to make crime statistics more transparent, more accountable and assure the public of the figures' integrity.

"However, the police service, supported by HMIC, the Home Office, the Office of National Statistics, the College of Policing and the Crime Statistics Advisory Committee will continue to work hard in order to achieve accuracy and consistency in recorded crime in order to see the National Statistics designation restored. "

ENDS

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