Britain polls highest in EU survey of burglary rates

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The Independent Online

The Home Office faced embarrassment yesterday after a survey concluded that Britain has the highest rates of burglary and assault in the EU.

The European Crime and Safety Survey found that crime levels had fallen since 1995, but not as fast as in the rest of the EU. It labelled Britain a "high-crime" nation, with only the citizens of Ireland facing a higher risk of falling victim to crime. The Home Office minister Tony McNulty dismissed the findings as out of date. He also raised doubts over the " quality" of the results and the comparisons with other countries.

But Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, said: "So much for Tony Blair's tough-talking 10-year record on crime. These days it is on crime that we are the 'sick man of Europe'."

The survey, based on research by Gallup Europe, also discovered above-average levels of "hate crime". There is also a higher risk of theft from cars, it said. The EU's crime hotspots were named as the UK, Ireland, Estonia, the Netherlands and Denmark