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

The Laughter Police go to the Fringe

Alfie Moore, the Scunthorpe policeman's with another career

Police forces at record strength

Police officer numbers hit a record high in England and Wales last year, figures revealed today.

Pair jailed for race-hate crimes

Two men were jailed today for inciting racial hatred online.

Police swoop on Yorkshire in Bloom 'thief' (but was it a plant...?)

Villages taking part in horticultural contest targeted in £10,000 crime spree

Hull set to open Owen talks

Hull manager Phil Brown has revealed the club intends to speak to Michael Owen's representatives "within the week".

Owen set to leave Newcastle

Michael Owen has confirmed he will leave Newcastle when his contract expires at the end of the month.

Swine flu patient dies in hospital

A patient suffering from swine flu has died in hospital, the Scottish Government said tonight.

Saints lose talisman Long to Hull

Sean Long, St Helens' most talismanic player of the Super League era, is leaving to take up a two-year contract at Hull. Saints were prepared to offer the 32-year-old scrum-half only a one-year deal and he has opted to move on, after 12 hugely successful years at Knowsley Road, when his contract runs out at the end of this season. "We fully respect Sean's decision," said Saints' chairman, Eamonn McManus. "We wish him well."

Michael McCarthy: The truth about Elliot Morley - the man I knew

Sometimes sheer longevity gives you a right to pass judgements. In the course of reporting on the environment for The Independent, I have observed every single Labour environment minister since the party came into office in 1997, and I have no doubt at all that the one who has done the most to protect the natural world is Elliot Morley.

Page Turner: How the toffs and the cons wrote a book

There are glamorous and not so glamorous places to be a writer in residence. Ian McMillan has tried most of them, as poet in residence for Humberside Police, Barnsley FC and Northern Spirit Rail Network. Fay Weldon checked into the Savoy in 2002, where the beds were reportedly so comfy that she hardly got any work done. Shoreditch House's literary salonista Damian Barr has the enviable role of reader in residence at the Andaz Hotel. He qualifies owing to his dulcet tones and his stripy pyjamas. But none of these has yet been brave enough to go to jail for their writing.

Police chief warns over forces' cuts

Many police forces will be weakened by a funding squeeze at a time when crime could increase because of the recession, one of Britain's top policemen warned today.

Helicopter crashes in Lincolnshire field

A helicopter crashed in a field today, emergency services said.

Reptile escape fear in blaze drama

A fire at a reptile emporium housing poisonous snakes and scorpions led concerned neighbours to seek shelter at a football stadium last night.

Children free to learn about life outside

Children around Britain were given the day off, with many heading straight out into the snow to play.

Hull to bill Millwall for damage to stand

Hull City 2 Millwall 0
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home