Crime rises to highest level since 2007

More than five million crimes were reported to police last year, new figures from the ONS released today show.

Police forces across England and Wales recorded 5.2 million offences in the year to the end of June, which was up by 13% on the previous 12 months and returning to levels not seen since 2007.

There was an 19% increase in the number of sexual offences recorded in England and Wales, up to 129,700. There was a similar rise in the number of violent crimes, which rose from 1,033,719 cases the previous year to 1,229,260 cases this year.

There has been a rise in crimes of many kinds as the number of offences reported to police rose past 5 million over the last year. Sexual offences and violence are up 19%, burglary 6%.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) data reveals the rise in violence was driven by increases in the violence without injury (21%) and stalking and harassment (36%) sub-categories.

There was also a 10% rise in the violence with injury category, which was mainly down to a jump in recorded assaults.

The ONS report said: ‘Most of this volume increase was thought to result from improved recording practices but it is likely that rises in the most serious categories reflect genuine rises in violent crime.These lower volume but serious offences are thought to be generally well-recorded by the police.’

Police recorded an 11% rise in the number of thefts, with the crime continuing to rise over last two years.

Forces also logged 664 homicides in the 12 months from July 2016, which was a 2% fall compared with the previous year.

However, the ONS said recent trends have been affected by recording of incidents where there were multiple victims, such as 96 cases of manslaughter from the Hillsborough disaster and the recent terrorist attacks in London and Manchester.

If cases related to Hillsborough and the terror attacks are excluded, the homicide tally went up by 46, following a ‘general upward trend’ seen in recent years.

There was a ‘substantial increase’, of 59%, in the number of attempted murder offences registered, which was largely due to terror-related cases.

However according to the separate Crime Survey of England and Wales, there was no significant change in the estimated number of incidents of violence experienced by adults aged 16 or over.

The statistics also revealed that in the year to June police recorded 36,998 involving a knife or sharp instrument.

Violence of all kinds has also risen, with the total number of violent offences now at 1.2million
This was the highest number since comparable data records started seven years ago, with 38 out of 44 forces seeing a rise. The Metropolitan Police had the sharpest jump, accounting for nearly half of the rise across England and Wales.

The number of knife crimes recorded in England and Wales last year was the highest since 2011.

Police-recorded offences are one of two official sources used to analyse trends in crime. The other is the Crime Survey for England and Wales, which gave an estimated total of 10.8 million incidents of crime in the year to the end of June.

This figure includes experimental data on fraud and computer misuse offences, and annual comparisons will not be available until January.

John Flatley, crime specialist for the ONS, said: ‘Today’s figures suggest that the police are dealing with a growing volume of crime.

“While improvements made by police forces in recording crime are still a factor in the increase, we judge that there have been genuine increases in crime – particularly in some of the low incidence but more harmful categories.

‘Police figures cannot provide a good measure of all crime in society, since we know that a large volume of it never comes to their attention.

‘The recent increases in recorded crime need to be seen in the context of the overall decline in crime indicated by the Crime Survey for England and Wales.The survey remains our best guide to long-term trends for crime as experienced by the population in general.”