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

Riots to cost Met police £34m

Scotland Yard is expected to have spent more on policing the riots than it spent on policing all major public order events in the capital last year, officials said today.

North-South divide in property market widens

The property-market divide between London and the North of England is widening rapidly, with sales outside the capital now taking up to twice as long as those within it.

Sean O'Grady: For long-term gain, the EU will have to share the pain

So: will it work? Short term, it offers reassurance on three fronts. First, that Greece will be able to fund itself for a while longer. Second, that Europe can actually agree on something, even if it is only when staring down the barrel of a shotgun. Third, it offers a sliver of hope that Italy and Spain, not formally on the table but haunting this summit all the same, may also receive sufficient pre-emptive aid to prevent them from melting down. Crucially, this renewed bailout fund, the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), will be able to buy Italian and Spanish bonds in the markets.

Two men found dead in car

Two men have been found dead in a car displaying warnings not to enter due to potentially harmful chemicals.

Chemical mixture sparks leisure centre blast

A mixture of chemicals caused an explosion at a leisure centre which injured three men yesterday, fire services said.

Millward outlines doomsday scenario for desperate Leigh

The Leigh coach, Ian Millward, has warned that the club could fold unless it finds new finance. Millward was speaking after the Championship leaders' first league defeat of the season, 36-16 at home to Halifax.

Hodgson finishes Hull's hot streak

Hull FC 20 Huddersfield 34

Gutsy Bradford run Wigan close

Bradford, despite their dismal Super Form and playing most of the game a man short, gave Wigan a real scare in their tie at Odsal yesterday.

Open Jaw: 'Anglesey rejuvenates man's inner spirit'

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Union leader arrested at jobs row site

A national official of a leading trade union was arrested today at the site of a new bio-ethanol plant which has been at the centre of an increasingly bitter row over jobs.

Brick attack girl 'badly injured'

A four-year-old girl who was hit in the face by a brick thrown through the window of a van suffered "horrendous injuries" but they could have been much worse, police said today.

Life for wife's fake robbery murder

A shopkeeper who bludgeoned his postmistress wife to death then blamed an armed robber was jailed for life today.

Boyd Tonkin: A fresh wind from the Humber

The week in books

North-south housing divide grows

The property market showed signs of improving last month but prospects for house prices in the south of the country appear far stronger than in northern regions.

Goldman economist to join Bank committee

With increasing nervousness about the next move in interest rates by the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee, the Treasury yesterday announced the appointment of Ben Broadbent, a senior Goldman Sachs economist, as the latest external member of the nine-man MPC. He will replace Andrew Sentance, a so-called hawk, after the May meeting.

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect