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Coalition hails crime survey fall

Crime in England and Wales is down under the Coalition Government, so the Home Office has hailed according to the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW).

There were more than two million fewer crimes in the past year compared with 2010, according to the survey. However the survey explicitly does not deal with drugs offences or crimes against businesses; and statisticians did point to the number of police recorded shoplifting offences rising by 5pc, compared with the previous year. Anecdotal evidence suggests, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) adds, that this rise is more likely to be a result of a genuine increase in crime rather than any change in recording practice.

The ONS describes the CSEW as a face-to-face victimisation survey in which people resident in households in England and Wales are asked about their experiences of a selected number of offences in the 12 months prior to the interview. It covers children aged ten to 15 and adults aged 16 and over, but does not cover those living in group residences (such as care homes, student halls of residence and prisons), or crimes against commerce or public sector bodies. In other words, the CSEW is only a survey, an estimate, and not as wide-covering as police recorded crime, which shows no overall change from the previous year, with 3.7 million offences recorded in the year ending June 2014.

Police records also showed an rise in the volume of fraud recorded (8pc year on year), though the ONS says that it is difficult to judge to what extent that reflected better recording, an increase in public reports or a rise in actual crime. It is thought by the ONS that levels of fraud are thought to be substantially under-reported and thus these figures simply provide a measure of such offences brought to the attention of the authorities.

Crime Prevention Minister and Lib Dem MP Norman Baker, pictured, said: “Police reform is working and crime is down by more than 20 per cent under this government according to the independent Crime Survey for England and Wales. There are now 2.3 million fewer crimes per year than when the coalition government took office. That includes 413,000 fewer acts of violence and 160,000 fewer burglaries, with criminal damage down by 962,000 incidents. This is good news for a safer England and Wales. There are also positive signs that police recording of crime is improving, and that more victims of crimes such as sexual offences and fraud are coming forward – which is something we welcome.”

The CSEW in fact found a 16pc decrease compared with the previous year’s survey, the lowest estimate since the survey began in 1981.

Police recorded crime figures show an increase of 21% in all sexual offences for the year ending June 2014 compared with the previous year (up from 55,915 to 67,805 offences).


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