Thefts are on the rise, according to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) crime figures for the year to March, covering the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) and police recorded crime. Vehicle-related thefts rose by 17 per cent (to 924,000 offences), according to the survey; this is echoed by a 12pc increase in police recorded vehicle offences.
Police recorded a rise in robbery (up 30pc to 77,103 offences). The ONS reports that the number of recorded robberies are disproportionately high in London, accounting for 42pc of all recorded robberies. In comparison, London accounts for 17pc of all recorded crimes in England and Wales.
Caroline Youell, Crime Statistics and Analysis at ONS, said: “Most people don’t experience crime. Today’s figures show a fairly stable picture in England and Wales for most crime types. It is too early to say if this is a change to the long-term declining trend.
“There have been increases in some lower-volume “high-harm” offences such as homicide and knife crime, consistent with rises over the past three years. However, the latest rise in gun crime is much smaller than previously seen.
“We have also seen continued increases in some theft offences such as vehicle-related theft and burglary, while computer viruses have fallen.”
As for knife crime, the ONS says that offences involving a knife or a sharp instrument are at the highest level recorded, but are still relatively rare. These offences are concentrated in London and other metropolitan areas. However, the majority of police force areas saw a rise in this type of violent crime. The total number of homicides recorded by the police rose by 2pc (to 736 offences); this continues an upward trend in homicides since March 2014, a change to a longer-term decrease over the previous decade.
For the trade association the British Retail Consortium, the BRC’s Crime Policy Adviser, James Martin called the continued growth in shoplifting figures very concerning for retailers, as customer theft, along with age checks, is one of the key triggers for violence and abuse against staff. He said: “The BRC’s Retail Crime Survey indicates that in the year before March 2017, nearly 51 workers were injured every day, including weekends, across the industry. That is plainly unacceptable and is why we are asking the Government to take the opportunity the Offensive Weapons Bill provides to create a new offence for assaulting or threatening a retail colleague. They, and their families, deserve more protection as they go about their jobs.”
At the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, Matthew Scott, the APCC Performance Lead, said: “The public will be alarmed that police recorded crime continues to rise, up 13pc across England and Wales. Where there are genuine increases in serious violence PCCs will be working with their chief constables to ensure effective plans are in place to tackle the under-lying causes and keep communities safe.
“At the same time many police forces are still going through the process of amending their crime recording practices which makes comparisons with previous years’ data difficult when it comes to lower-harm offences.”
For the crime figures in full visit https://www.ons.gov.uk/.