Soaring recorded crime rates put police cuts under the spotlight but reported crime drops
ONS figures Recorded crime has surged to a 10-year high, according to figures published today by the Office of National Statistics (ONS). The news shines a spotlight on cuts to police budgets, with Scotland Yard needing to make savings of 400m by 2020 although the government disputes this figure. And the rate at which police-recorded crime is rising is accelerating: a 5% rise was recorded in the 12 months to June 2015, followed by a 7% jump the subsequent year and 13% in the latest figures.
The latest overall 13% rise is eclipsed by an even larger rise in the violent crime category, which encompasses knife crime, sexual offences and violence against the person. The underlying murder rate has risen by 8% excluding the 35 people killed in the London and Manchester terrorist attacks (and 96 Hillsborough deaths from 1989, which were recently ruled as manslaughter and therefore included in the headline figures). There were 629 homicides recorded in the 12 months to June. The ONS figures, which are released quarterly, also highlight 711 deaths or serious injuries caused by illegal driving, a 6% rise on the previous year. Opposite trend However, figures from the Crime Survey for England & Wales which polls the general public on their experience of crime reveal the opposite trend: a 9% reduction in overall crime. However, the Crime Survey is generally regarded as less reliable at gauging trends in low-volume offences, like many types of violent crime, or nascent trends. Today s figures suggest that the police are dealing with a growing volume of crime, said John Flatley of the Office for National Statistics. 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 of England and Wales. Several categories of violent crime, though still rare, posted some alarming rises: A 27% rise in gun crime to 6,696 offences A 26% increase in knife crime to 36,998 offences Robbery up 25% to 64,499 Sexual offences up 19% to 129,700 Stalking and harassment up 36% to 243,086 Overall violence against the person including homicide, death or serious injury caused by illegal driving, violence with injury, violence without injury, and stalking and harassment up 19% to 1,229,260 Double-digit increases in domestic violence and public order offences Even burglary up 21% and car crime, which have been falling for two decades, are now climbing again. It isn t all bad news, with drug offences down 9% to 132,935, and incidents of non-domestic burglary falling. Severe cuts With police battling rising crime with shrinking budgets, the latest figures have given critics of austerity plenty of ammunition. The Tories can no longer hide behind claims that crime is falling to justify their severe cuts to the police, said shadow home secretary Diane Abbott. They have left our communities exposed, with police numbers the lowest on record at a time when forces are under unprecedented pressure from surging crime, an ongoing terror threat, and from covering for cuts to other services. The Sun, once seen as a staunch defender of the police, blasted Humberside Police in a bizarre front page exclusive this week about officers downtime spent on funfair dodgems, seemingly to switch the conversation from cuts to the inefficient spending of taxpayer s money. Police boss defends hard-working officers slammed by Sun for playing on Hull Fair dodgems https://t.co/4DVaHaMxQO Hull Daily Mail (@hulldailymail) October 17, 2017 Meanwhile, Simon Jenkins, a longtime critic of counter-terror policy, has noted gang violence up 18% and youth killings up 84% in the capital while resources have been bled from the police into MI5 and other counter-terror initiatives. The number of Met officers has fallen from 30,300 from 32,000 and is expected to fall further.
The Met has also revealed plans to stop investigating some low-level crimes in order to balance the books . Sarah Newton, a Home Office minister, sought to downplay the rise in crime, saying that it is clear that much of the rise in police-recorded violent offences is due to better recording . However, she did accept that some of this increase is likely to be genuine, which is why have taken urgent action to stop these crimes and keep our communities safe. This week, we began consulting on tough new laws to crack down on acid attacks and knife offences. Our domestic abuse bill will help to bring this heinous crime out of the shadows and ensure victims receive both support and justice, as we invest 100m to prevent and confront violence against women and girls. We are also investing 1.9bn to counter the cyber threats we face. Free Download: The key to mitigating cybersecurity risks Exploiting IoT technology without creating cybersecurity vulnerabilities is one of the defining challenges in today s security landscape.
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