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Crime survey

Excluding fraud and computer misuse offences, there were an estimated 5.9 million incidents of crime experienced by adults aged 16 and over based on Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) interviews in the year ending March 2017. This is a decrease of 7pc from the 6.3 million incidents estimated in the previous year’s survey.

The CSEW suggests that only 17 per cent, less than one in five, of victims of fraud who are resident in households report to the police or Action Fraud. For the crime figures in England and Wales, visit https://www.ons.gov.uk/.

John Flatley, Crime Statistics and Analysis, at the Office for National Statistics (ONS), said: “The latest figures show the largest annual rise in crimes recorded by the police in a decade. While ongoing improvements to recording practices are driving this volume rise, we believe actual increases in crime are also a factor in a number of categories.”

“Some of the increases recorded by the police are in the low volume, but high harm, offences such as homicide and knife crime that the Crime Survey is not designed to measure. If the increases in burglary and vehicle theft recorded by the police continue we would expect these to show up in the survey in due course. We will continue to monitor these trends and investigate the factors driving any changes.”

In contrast to the 7pc decrease seen in the CSEW, police recorded offences increased by 10pc compared with the previous year, to nearly five million offences. All forces except for Cumbria and North Yorkshire showed an annual increase in the volume of crime recorded. These increases need to be seen in the context of the focus on the quality of crime recording by the police in recent years, the ONS says.

About the survey

The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) is a face-to-face victimisation survey in which people resident in households in England and Wales are asked about their experiences of a selected range of offences in the 12 months before the interview. New questions on fraud and computer misuse were introduced to half of the CSEW sample from October 2015.

Comment

John Cannon, Commercial Director Fraud and ID, at the credit checking agency Callcredit Information Group, said that the ONS figures clearly show fraud as now one of the most common forms of crime in the UK.

He said: “Whilst our own research shows over half of UK organisations are now taking stronger steps to prevent incidences of fraud, more companies should consider adopting a multi-layered strategy for fraud prevention by leveraging the wave of new technologies that provide security against different fraud attacks. Investing in these new technologies is becoming increasingly affordable by using a single API platform approach which removes significant cost associated to multiple supplier management, implementation and upgrade of individual solutions whilst increasing customer authentication rates and reducing fraud.

“Additionally, with Brexit negotiations ongoing, our research shows that nearly a third of UK organisations are worried about Brexit making fraud more difficult to tackle. As issues like identity fraud and money laundering become even more prevalent, businesses need to elevate discussions around fraud to the boardroom and take action.”

And at the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), the lead for criminal justice, Cheshire Chief Constable Simon Byrne said: “The 10 per cent rise in police recorded crime causes us concern, particularly when the number of police officers is at its lowest since 1985. It demonstrates how crime is changing with hidden crimes are coming to the fore, old crimes are being committed in new ways and truly new crimes emerging.

“Statistics from the Crime Survey for England and Wales appear to tell a different story with a seven per cent fall compared with last year. This is in part explained by the two measures covering different crime types with fraud and computer misuse offences, homicide and knife crime not included in the crime survey. The statistics tell us that people are still less likely to be a victim of crime today than decade ago.

“While we have worked hard in recent years to increase reporting of crime and to improve our recording practices, these do not fully explain the rises we are seeing today. There are genuine rises in a range of crimes like theft, knife crime and some types of violent crime including homicide, and high numbers of people targeted by fraud and cyber offences.

“We are committed to doing all we can to bring these crimes down and forces are finding new ways to tackle knife crime, make theft harder, fight cybercrime and intervene early to prevent people turning to violence.

“Fighting crime is core to what we do, but we need government support to stabilise our funding and to encourage key partners to do all they can to help us prevent crime.”


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