We are currently experiencing network problems with the desktop version of Police Oracle. We hope to have these resolved as soon as possible.

Physical crime falls but online fraud rises, according to ONS

Physical crime has decreased but become more violent while online fraud has increased, according to official figures.

The latest Crime Survey for England and Wales revealed overall crime levels remain stable but changes to the types of offences recorded.

Knife crime has increased by 7% but there has been a decrease in the overall number of homicides to 617.

The number of firearms offences remains unchanged but robberies have increased for the fourth consecutive year – up 12% to 82,542 offences.

Vehicle theft has increased by 5% and other motoring offences have increased by 4%.

Forces have also seen a 4% decrease in burglary.

But fraud, which until now has been approached by forces as a ‘hidden’ crime, has seen a 9% increase driven by a rise in bank and credit account fraud.

The ONS report said: "While recording improvements are likely to have contributed to the rise, some of the increase is likely to reflect a real change."

The data highlights the changes in crime trends away from physical or acquisitive crime towards online offending and violent incidents linked to gang violence.

Those changes also present a policy and resourcing challenge: the government has announced a drive to recruit 20,000 new frontline officers at a time when more 'bobbies on the beat' may not be the right response. 

John Apter, Chair of the Police Federation, said the changes in society meant government needed to enable police officers to respond as well as tackle the complex social issues behind offending.

He said: “Society has become a more violent place and the police cannot and should not be expected to fight this crime epidemic alone. We need more support from other areas of the public sector. This is not a simple problem to fix.”

The charging rate has also fallen but this is due to a range of factors including the use of youth offending teams to direct first-time criminals under the age of 18 away from custodial sentences so they do not become locked into a cycle of offending.

Senior police officers said the approach to violent offending was working and the number of new recruits would also help.

National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for crime, Chief Constable Andy Cooke, said: “Tackling violence is a police priority and our tactics are working. Intelligence-led stop and search, weapons sweeps and effective targeting of habitual knife carriers have led to 17% increase in the number of people arrested for possession of a knife.”

He added: “The further fall in charging rates is concerning, but not surprising. In the past decade, we’ve dealt with more complex crimes and increasing demand while our resources fell. Changes to crime recording mean we now record more crimes that have no realistic prospect of conviction, which also effects the statistics

The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners said the data only revealed the crimes recorded and not the offences prevented or the non-crime work that takes up the majority of officer time.

Performance lead, Matthew Scott PCC said: “Crime data alone does not reflect the huge amount of work our police forces do where no crime has taken place - searching for missing people; attending serious collisions on our roads; prevention work in our schools; and dealing with people in mental health crisis, for example.”

He added: “Overall demand on our police officers and staff continues to grow and that is why ongoing investment is so important. The Government is funding a further 20,000 police officers and, following yesterday’s funding settlement, all PCCs are looking at their own force’s budgetary needs before presenting their 2020/21 precept proposals to their Police and Crime Panels.”

Leave a Comment
View Comments 1
In Other News
Recorded crime drops 5% but personal attacks increase
Van thieves hitting small firms hard
Violence not fraud is our priority, says Met Deputy Commissioner
Knife crime needs multi-faceted approach, says CoP report
Norfolk and Suffolk rapped over crime recording procedures
Fighting loneliness cuts crime, says chat bench creator
Met praised for crime reduction work in top knife crime hot-spot
More News