Rates of recorded crime surge in England and Wales

Largest annual rise in a decade

Crime in England and Wales surged in 2016/17 according to figures released today.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) latest crime figures show crime has risen 10 per cent, after nearly 5 million offences were recorded between April 2016 and March 2017, in the largest annual rise in a decade. 

In the same period violent crime rose 18 per cent, which includes a 20 per cent increase in gun and knife crime, with the rise of knife incidents in London widely reported on.

The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW), which is based on people’s experiences of crime, showed there were 5.9 million incidents of crime covered by the survey, a 7% reduction compared with the previous year’s survey.

However, the results are collated from a face-to face survey so does include those incidents not reported to the police.

New experimental figures in the CSEW survey include fraud and computer misuse offences, when these are included into the number of crimes estimated by the survey, the rates rise from 5.9m to 11m suggesting that the level of cyber-crime is on the increase.

John Flatley, head of crime statistics for the ONS, said: “The latest figures show the largest annual rise in crimes recorded by the police in a decade.

“While ongoing improvements to recording practices are driving this volume rise, we believe actual increases in crime are also a factor in a number of categories.

“Some of the increases recorded by the police are in low-volume, but high-harm, offences such as homicide and knife crime that the Crime Survey is not designed to measure.

These numbers will lead to some questions for the government as separate data showed that police officer numbers were at their lowest in more than 30 years. 

At the end of March this year there were 123,142 policemen and women across all ranks in England and Wales according to official report.

The Home Office report said: “Records earlier than this are not directly comparable; however, they indicate that this is the lowest number of officers since 1985.”

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