Crime up after three year fall

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The Independent Online
RECORDED crime in England and Wales rose last year to more than five million offences, writes Jason Bennetto.

Michael Howard, the Home Secretary, will announce this week that in the year to the end of June crime rose by half a per cent. The last thing Mr Howard wanted on the eve of the Tory party conference was headlines saying "crime is rising".

The figures from the 43 police forces in England and Wales will also show that while property crime such as burglary is declining, violent crime is rising, particularly in the inner cities.

The news is particularly disappointing for the Tories because recorded crime had fallen for the past three years, with a drop of 2.4 per cent last year to 5.1 million offences, one per cent in 1994 and five per cent in 1993.

Mr Howard has stressed that the figures were liable to fluctuation and is expected to insist that the small rise is a hiccup.

But Labour said the figures proved Mr Howard's boast that "prison works" by deterring criminals was hollow. The prison population stands at a record high, with 56,440 inmates in England and Wales.