Crime figures continue to fall sharply

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Crime continues to fall sharply across England and Wales, figures published today revealed.

Police forces recorded significantly reduced numbers of violent attacks, robbery, burglary and fraud.

The total number of offences reported to police year on year fell by 7 per cent in December 2009.

This meant 339,473 fewer crimes took place last year, with a total of 4,448,273 offences investigated by police.

The only major category to see an increase was sexual offences, which rose by 2 per cent with an additional 1,135 crimes, bringing the total to 53,239.

The last set of crime figures published ahead of the General Election will be seen as a boon for the Government.

And they will be welcomed by police chiefs who warned acquisitive crime may be fuelled by the recession.

The figures were backed by the British Crime Survey, made up with tens of thousands of interviews, which also showed a 7 per cent crime fall.

The survey found the risk of becoming a victim of crime remains at a historic 30-year low.

The Government presented the crime statistics as a 12-month rolling total, instead of as quarterly figures, for the first time.