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

Recorded crime drops 5% but personal attacks increase

Violent crime and fraud was increasing before the lockdown, according to official data.

The year-end figures from the Office for National Statistics revealed changes in the nature of offending in 2019.

The headline conclusion was that there had been a drop in crime across England and Wales of 5%. It is the first significant fall since 2016.

But the physical offences that did take place were more personal and more violent.

There was a 7% increase in the number of offences involving knives or sharp instruments and a 2% increase in the overall number of homicides. Robbery and vehicle thefts increased by 12% and 1% respectively.

The ONS concluded that lower-volume, higher-harm types of violence were concentrated in metropolitan areas such as London, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire.

The lockdown has led to a massive drop in recorded crime across the country of 28%, so data analysts say they will not be able to show if the 5% figure is part of a long-term trend. But the recorded crime changes during lockdown will offer insights into the true challenges forces are facing.

Joe Traynor from the Office for National Statistics Centre for Crime and Justice said: “It is not possible to say whether this would have come to represent a change from the flat trend in recent years, as it is likely that the current lockdown will have an impact on the level of crime in 2020.

“The 2019 data revealed different patterns for specific types of crime, for instance, robbery increased.”

The data only deals with recorded crime and how that is done differs between forces. There is also the challenge of unreported offending such as domestic violence and County Lines trafficking. HM Inspectorate also warned that the public is not reporting offences that they know officers will not investigate due to time and budget constraints.

One of the biggest problems is the unknown total of online fraud: HM Inspectorate in two reports last year concluded the official figures massively under-represent the true level of offending. The estimate is just under a million offences with a cost to the UK economy of £1.1bn in 2016.

HM Inspectorate said: “Cyber-dependent crime is massively under-reported and, as a result, the true scale of it is unknown. This is a significant problem for law enforcement agencies.”

The report in April revealed forces had been unable to provide basic data on the demand fraud places on them.

The Home Office said the first drop in total recorded crime since 2016 would continue because of the government’s extra investment in more officers and additional funding to tackle specific offences.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “This is extremely encouraging and a positive step in the right direction, but I remain steadfast in ensuring the criminal minority do not get away with their crimes. I will continue to give the police the stop and search powers, funding and extra officers they need to keep our families, communities and country safe.

But in areas where crime has gone up, Police and Crime Commissioners said resources would have to be redirected to reflect the regional disparities.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson revealed his force had seen total recorded crime (excluding fraud) rise by 3%.

Mr Jamieson said: “What we see here is that crime is changing and not falling. With more crime going online, that is much harder to record and these levels of demand, which we are likely to return to after the lockdown, being able to properly address these challenges is vital.

“These statistics also need to be a wakeup call. These figures are testament to the need for increased long term funding for policing and crucially for services to support young people which have been devastated over recent years.”

He added: “It should also be noted that whilst good quality policing is crucial to reducing crime, other services have a big role to play to. We need to see an increase in youth services and mental health if the government are serious about tackling the root causes of crime too."

Responding to the findings, the Police Federation said the data was evidence that single year funding had to end if officers were to tackle offending linked to deep-seated issues in communities such as gangs.

Chairman John Apter, said: “Yet again we see the effects of austerity that have necessitated this current government’s investment in funding and the 20,000 officer uplift announced last year – investment that will still only bring us back to pre-2008 levels.

“It is a tragedy that knife crime continues to spiral as my colleagues are stretched to their limits, and with fewer officers on patrol it comes as no surprise that street crime such as robbery has increased. The fact that some statistics have fallen despite this is a testament to the hard work and dedication of officers across the country.”

Leave a Comment
In Other News
Lack of children's homes adding to county lines pressure, say councils
Crime prevention: who’s counting?
West Midlands PCC lobbies government over school exclusions
Physical crime falls but online fraud rises, according to ONS
More News