1. ITV Report

The East tops the list of peaceful places

Broadland: The most peaceful place in the UK Photo: PA

A report on violent crime shows that Broadland in Norfolk is the most peaceful local authority area in the UK.

The UK has seen a "substantial and sustained" fall in violent crime over the last decade.

The murder rate in the UK has halved since 2003, from 1.99 per 100,000 people to one per 100,000 with the violent crime rate falling from 1,255 to 933 per 100,000 people, according to a new "peace index."

Broadland was the most peaceful area at local authority level, with three other authorities in the East in the top five. Three Rivers in Hertfordshire was second, followed by South Cambridgeshire, while Maldon in Essex was the fifth most peaceful.

The findings were published in the UK Peace Index, produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), which defines peace as the absence of violence or fear of violence.

"Both crime and homicide have fallen significantly," the report said.

The fall over the last decade has resulted in the UK homicide rate being its lowest level since 1978. However, the UK violent crime rate is significantly higher than the European Union average.

But the report found public perceptions of the threat of violence are inflated, with 17% of Britons thinking they will be a victim of violent crime, while less than 4% will actually experience violent crime.

The downward trend in violence could be explained by a range of factors including changes in police practices and technological improvements, an ageing population, a fall in alcohol consumption and the introduction of the minimum wage, the report said.