1. ITV Report

Violent crime and sexual offences up by a fifth

  • Video report by ITV News correspondent Angus Walker

A surge in violent crime and sexual offences has helped push the number of offences recorded by police in England and Wales past five million, new figures show.

An increase in knife crime and bank and credit card fraud were also to blame, the Office for National Statistics said.

Forces registered 5.2 million offences in the year to the end of June, up by 13% on the previous 12 months.

It marks a steep rise in recorded crime, after the previous two years saw crime grow by five and seven per cent.

The increase in the number of offences recorded in the year to the end of June

The figures show the number of violent crimes went up by almost a fifth (19%) to 1.2 million.

Meanwhile sexual offences shot up by the same proportion to 129,700, marking a reversal of recent trends which saw the rise slow in recent years.

However the ONS said more sexual offences being reported and improved recording by police forces in response to inspections are likely to have contributed to the rise.

The figures also revealed:

  • police recorded 36,998 offences involving a knife or sharp instrument - the highest number since comparable data records started seven years ago, with 38 out of 44 forces seeing a rise;
  • there were 711 deaths or serious injuries caused by illegal driving, a 6% rise on the previous year;
  • the level of crime has fallen considerably from the peak levels seen in 1995, but crime dealt with by the police has begun to rise in recent years;
  • the likelihood of being a victim of crime has fallen considerably, from 24 in 100 adults a decade ago to around 14 in 100 today.

Police-recorded offences are one of two official sources used to analyse trends in crime.

The other is the Crime Survey for England and Wales, which gave an estimated total of 10.8 million incidents of crime in the year to the end of June.

This figure includes experimental data on fraud and computer misuse offences, and annual comparisons will not be available until January.

The number of offences involving a knife or sharp instrument - a 26% increase
The number of fraud offences recorded in the year to the end of June
The rise in stalking and harassment
The number of homicides recorded, a 2% fall
The rise in cases of attempted murder
The rise in rape offences

John Flatley, head of crime statistics at the ONS, said: "Today's figures suggest that the police are dealing with a growing volume of crime.

"While improvements made by police forces in recording crime are still a factor in the increase, we judge that there have been genuine increases in crime - particularly in some of the low incidence but more harmful categories.

"Police figures cannot provide a good measure of all crime in society, since we know that a large volume of it never comes to their attention.

"The recent increases in recorded crime need to be seen in the context of the overall decline in crime indicated by the Crime Survey for England and Wales.

"The Survey remains our best guide to long-term trends for crime as experienced by the population in general."