Crime 'down a third over a decade'


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The Independent Online

The number of crimes recorded by police has dropped by a third over the last decade, figures showed.

The overall crime recorded by police forces in England and Wales dropped to 3.9 million offences in the year to June, a third lower than in 2002/3, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed.

Overall crime against adults was also down, falling 6% in the last year, but "after a period of little change the underlying trend remains fairly flat", separate data from the Crime Survey of England and Wales (CSEW) showed.

Crime fell across all headline offences recorded by police in the year to June, the ONS said.

Violence against the person was down 6%, homicide down 14% and attempted murder down 12%, the figures showed.

Meanwhile, levels of violent crime estimated by the CSEW showed no statistically significant change in the year ending June 2012 compared with the previous year.

Estimates of violent crime are now around half the level seen in 1995, the survey showed.

Crime Prevention Minister Jeremy Browne said: "Crime is falling. I want people to be safe and secure and this is very welcome news.

"Today's figures indicate you have the lowest chance of being a victim of crime since the survey began in 1981."

Police reform was working, he said, adding that it showed "how the police are deployed, rather than their absolute numbers, is what is key to cutting crime".

Deputy Chief Constable Douglas Paxton, of the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), said: "These overall crime reductions have been achieved at a time when forces are facing significant cash savings.

"The service remains determined to continue to build on the good work reflected in these publications and the results are a credit to those officers and staff who have faced the challenge of major efficiencies while continuing to tackle crime in our communities."

But pick-pocketing, referred to as theft from the person, continued to rise and was up 6% over the last year, the police recorded crime figures showed.

Labour's shadow policing minister David Hanson said: "Any fall in overall crime is welcome, but I'm sure the Government would agree that crime remains too high.

"We need to ensure everything is being done to tackle crime to follow the fall in crime of over 40% that Labour achieved.

"Cutting 15,000 police officers from across the country shows the Government are simply not doing everything they can."

Javed Khan, chief executive of Victim Support, said: "Crime has been falling for 20 years now.

"We welcome this of course, but we know from the thousands of victims we've helped in the last month alone that crime is a real problem for a lot of people.

"A fall in crime isn't grounds for complacency. Many victims still need help to cope and recover after a crime has taken place."