Largest rise in violent crime in a decade

Biggest crime rise in 10 years as police numbers fall to 30-year low			
   by Simon Garner 

Biggest crime rise in 10 years as police numbers fall to 30-year low by Simon Garner Published

Statistics from the 44 police forces showed there were more than 1.1 million violent crimes in the year to March 2017 with large increases also in robbery and sex crimes, while overall almost five million offences were recorded, up by 10% from the year before.

Police recorded 458,021 more offences in the 12-month period to March compared with the previous year, which the ONS said was driven by an increase in violence.

The 723 homicides recorded included the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster.

New figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show recorded crime went up by 10 per cent in just twelve months between 2015 and 2016.

Close to five million offences were recorded by the police over the previous year to March, according to data released by the Office for National Statistics.

'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'.

It comes as a Home Office report reveals there were 123,142 officers across all ranks in England and Wales at the end of March this year - the lowest amount since 1985.

The use of handguns in firearms offences rose 24%, the ONS said.

And Steve White, PFEW chairman, said: "What more of a wake-up call does the Government need?"

In the ONS data, the number of violent crimes against citizens was up 18 per cent to 175,060 offences.

When those cases are excluded, homicides rose by 9%.

Policing and Fire Minister Nick Hurd said: 'Our police officers and staff do a fantastic job every day to keep us safe, and they have played a key role in today's news that crimes traditionally measured by the Independent Crime Survey for England and Wales are down by well over a third since 2010 and down by 69% since its 1995 peak. Robbery was also up 16%, or around 8,000 offences.

But the ONS said there was an overall 7% reduction recorded by the CSEW when fraud and cyber crimes were excluded - falling from 6.3 million to 5.9 million.

Some 35,000 households are questioned for the CSEW and the response rate is 73 per cent, Mr Flatley said. But the official statisticians are now clear that they, at least in part, are a factor in a number of offences.

Police chiefs have voiced concern about their resources following years of less money as the government cut public spending to reduce its budget deficit, while opponents say the decision to cap officers' pay has hit morale and recruitment.

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