News Most forces reported a decline in crime, although the City of London had a one per cent

Official statistics reveal 10% reduction in criminal offences

Trouble at the KC: 'This was like going back 10 years'

Police commander tells of organised violence by Millwall fans as spectre of hooliganism returns

Runaway schoolgirl found safe in France

A schoolgirl who went missing with a 49-year-old man she met on the internet has been found safe and well in France.

Runaway schoolgirl spotted on channel ferry

A schoolgirl who police fear has run away with a man she met on the internet has been spotted on a ferry travelling to France, police said today.

Britain records 18% fall in gun deaths

The number of deaths in Britain from gunshot wounds has fallen to a 20-year low despite concerns about levels of violent crime.

Outside the Box: Strachan's son won't keep mum as broadcasting career beckons

Celtic's manager, Gordon Strachan, is either the wittiest of interviewees or a pain in the microphone, according to taste. "What were your impressions of the game, Gordon?" "I don't do impressions." This maverick approach has not deterred one of his sons, Gavin, from enrolling on the part-time degree course being run by Staffordshire University for footballers who are keen on pursuing a career in the media. The Professional Footballers' Association help with grants for the two-year course, from which the first crop of students – including the former Chelsea full-back Scott Minto, now of Sky Sports and TalkSport – recently graduated. Strachan Jnr, who has a blog on BBC Online every Tuesday, is among the new intake, with Blackpool's Ben Burgess (a 'News of the World' blogger). Roll on Strachan v Strachan.

Hull KR 36 Hull 8: Agar ready to wield the axe after Rovers win neighbourly row

Hull Kingston Rovers finished their Super League season in proud fashion yesterday, deciding the pecking order on Humberside decisively in their favour following this victory. Not only did the Robins finish six points and four league places above their rivals from across the city, they also beat them for a third time this year – and in the most resounding manner.

Leading Article: A fresh challenge for the North

There are some clear messages from this year's examination results. First, a regional breakdown of the increase in grade-A passes at A-level revealed a glaring gap between the performance in London and the South-east, and the North-east. Indeed, it seems that the further north you go, the lower the rise in A-grade passes.

King set for Hull switch

Wigan striker Marlon King is travelling to Humberside to hold talks with Hull over a transfer to the KC Stadium.

Straw sacks magistrate who criticised police

Jack Straw was at the centre of a political row last night after he sacked a magistrate who criticised the police for failing to protect her daughter from being physically assaulted at school.

Championship play-off final: Over 29m reasons for Hull or Robins to reach top flight

Bristol City and Hull City, thrilled by the prospect of Saturday's Championship play-off final but probably apprehensive about what may await the winners, can take heart from the figures opposite Derby County's name this season. OK, not the ones recording a single victory and 11 points from 38 games, but the one that reads £29,130,314.

Construction firms accused of price fixing

More than 100 construction firms were today accused of "bid-rigging" by competition watchdogs after one of the biggest ever investigations by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

Economy casts long shadow over local elections

Three weeks from today, Gordon Brown will face his first electoral test as Labour leader and the backdrop could hardly be more gloomy as the economic clouds darken.

Legal Opinion: Police face legal challenge over criminal records checks

If you have done nothing wrong, then you have nothing to fear. But, asks Robert Verkaik, Law Editor, what if the police could disclose unproven allegations to your employer?

Private Investor: Don't panic, they're only paper losses

I've just had my worst month in three years. As you may have noticed, the markets have been having - ahem - a difficult time. Because I've got lots of emerging markets exposure, through a variety of investment trusts, the recent sharp corrections in those markets, even worse than in London, has meant that my realised performance has been truly dismal. The paper losses are there for me to see and weep over.

Carragher chief casualty in retreat from wasteland

When Jamie Carragher first produced a wallet in front of the childhood friends he still socialises with in Bootle he was taunted so mercilessly for betraying his working-class roots that he was given no choice but to dispense with it in the nearest bin. He has not possessed one since. By those rigid standards the Liverpool defender will never live down his appearance at the Beckhams' Full Length and Fabulous dinner in Hertfordshire last week but, unlike his initial brief at Old Trafford last night, he was at least given a full night to reinvent himself on that occasion.

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Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
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Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
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The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick