In the Media

Recorded crime now at lowest level since 1986

PUBLISHED October 18, 2012

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that on both key indicators, data from forces and an authoritative survey, crime has fallen by 6 per cent in the past year alone.

Levels have now dropped by a third in just a decade with rates of violence half what they were in the 1990s.

All the main categories of offence have seen reductions, with homicide down 14 per cent, robbery 7 per cent, vehicle theft 8 per cent, household crime such as burglary 7 per cent, and some types of theft down 2 per cent after a rise the previous year.

The only areas that saw a rise were theft from the person, such as pickpocketing, which increased by 3 per cent in a year, and other household theft, where opportunistic criminals break into garden sheds, which rose by 1 per cent.

In total the independent Office for National Statistics said police had recorded 3.9million offences in the 12 months to June 2012, the lowest number since 1986. The separate Crime Survey for England and Wales indicated there were 9.1m offences against households and adults over the same period.

The figures cover the period of the riots in summer 2011, but because the looting and destruction took place in just one month and in a handful of force areas it had a "small" impact on statistics.

The continuing drops in crime reported by the ONS come despite police strength falling to its lowest level for almost a decade as forces deal with 20 per cent cuts to their budgets.

It had also been feared that high jobless numbers and public service cuts following the worst recession in decades would spark a crime wave.

Experts are unsure as to why violence has fallen so much in recent years but believe the falls in acquisitive crime are down to improved security in homes and cars.

Jeremy Browne, the new Crime Prevention Minister, said: "Crime is falling. I want people to be safe and secure and this is very welcome news.

"Today's figures indicate you have the lowest chance of being a victim of crime since the survey began in 1981."

He added: "Police reform is working. We have swept away central targets and reduced police bureaucracy. This shows that how the police are deployed, rather than their absolute numbers, is what is key to cutting crime."

Senior ranks said the figures showed how hard police were working at a challenging time.

Deputy Chief Constable Douglas Paxton, the lead on statistics for the Association of Chief Police Officers, said: "What is important to note is that these overall crime reductions have been achieved at a time when forces are facing significant cash savings.

"The service remains determined to continue to build on the good work reflected in these publications and the results are a credit to those officers and staff who have faced the challenge of major efficiencies while continuing to tackle crime in our communities."

David Hanson MP, Labour's shadow police spokesman, said: "Any fall in overall crime is welcome, but I'm sure the Government would agree that crime remains too high with 9.1 million offences recorded in the survey.

"As the Office for National Statistics states, crime has been flat over the last couple of years after the historic reductions in crime with Labour."