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Why the discrepancy in crime rates?

Analysis from the Office for National Statistics suggests there is a discrepancy between police records of crimes and the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW).

The CSEW works by "asking people whether they have experienced any crime in the past year," whereas police records are based on officers recording offences in their patch.

The differences between these methods may give rise to discrepancies, although the exact reason why police records appear to overstate crime reduction is a matter of controversy.

Police may record fewer crimes due to target pressures

One statistician at the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggested that the bigger decreases in crimes recorded by police may be due to pressures to meet targets.

He said there was a "culture and informal pressure of having targets and expectations" in police forces.

Another possibility for the discrepancy was that more low-level crimes were being dealt with informally and outside the formal crime recording system.

Mr Flatley also suggested it was also "possible" that reductions in police budgets and officers meant fewer offences were being recorded.

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Why are women waiting to get pregnant?

A spokesman for the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said that the fall in the average age of mothers since 1973 could be due to several factors:

Possible influences include increased participation in higher education, increased female participation in the labour force, the increasing importance of a career, the rising opportunity costs of child-bearing, labour market uncertainty, housing factors and instability of partnerships.

– ONS spokesman

More women are delaying childbirth until their 30s

Live births by age group for mother, 1938-2011 Credit: Office for National Statistics

Just under 50% of women are waiting until they reach 30 to give birth, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.

In 2010, 48% of all infants born were to mothers aged 30 and over, up from 47% in 2009 and 46% in 2000.

The last time so many babies were born to women of this age was after the Second World War, in 1946.

The proportion of mothers under the age of 25 has fallen steadily since its peak in the early Seventies.

Reporting discrepancy may be due to retail crime

The shadow policing minister David Hanson has suggested the discrepancy between police-recorded crimes and the Crime Survey for England and Wales may be down to crimes in the retail sector:

There are warning signs for the police and Home Office, with the increase in theft. And earlier this week the British Retail Consortium's Survey showed an increase of over 15% in the cost of retail crime alongside a drop in the proportion of crime reported by retailers to the police from 48% to 16%.

This is perhaps why the Office for National Statistics has begun to express concern that apparent reductions in police recorded crime may be exaggerated.

– david hanson, shadow policing minister

Homicide rate down 10% in year to September 2012

Crimes recorded in virtually all categories have fallen in the year ending September 2012 compared with the previous year with significant reductions in vandalism, burglary and vehicle thefts.

Pickpocketing was one of the few sub-categories that saw an increase, which may be due to the popularity of hand-held devices like iPhones, mp3 players and tablets.

  • Violence against the person - down 5%
  • Homicide - down 10%
  • Attempted murder - down 2%
  • Burglary - down 8%
  • Anti-social behaviour incidents - down 2.4%
  • Pickpocketing - up 6%

(Office for National Statistics)

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Minister: Crime figures show police reform is working

The crime prevention minister Jeremy Browne has welcomed the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, saying:

Police reform is working. We have swept away central targets, reduced bureaucracy and these figures show forces are rising to the challenge of doing more with less. Many have achieved significant reductions in crime with reduced budgets.

Police records 'overstate' drop in crime rate

Police records "overstate the true rate in which crime has been falling" according to the latest analysis from the Office for National Statistics.

There is a difference between the number of crimes recorded by police and those reported by residents in England and Wales
There is a difference between the number of crimes recorded by police and those reported by residents in England and Wales Credit: Eye Ubiquitous/Press Association Images

The number of crimes recorded by police and those reported by residents in England and Wales both show the number of crimes is falling, but at different rates.

Police records suggest that crime rates dropped by 41% since 2002/03, compared to a 26% fall in the records of the Crime Survey for England and Wales.

In the last five years, the number of police-recorded crimes fell by 960,000, while the crime survey showed a fall of just 560,000.

Half of babies born into married homes in 2011

This graph shows the relationship status of parents registering births in 1986, 2001 and 2011
This graph shows the relationship status of parents registering births in 1986, 2001 and 2011 Credit: Office for National Statistics

Just over half (53%) of all babies registered in 2011 were born to parents who were married or in a civil partnership, according to figures from the ONS.

The figure is a substantial drop from 1986 when the proportion was closer to 80%.

However, the number of births registered by sole parents (almost 6%) has fallen since 2001 while more parents are co-habiting (31%).

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