22/01/2004

Police figures show 14% rise in violent crime

Violent crime recorded by police in England and Wales rose by 14% in the three months up to September last year, according to crime survey statistics published by the Home Office today.

The police recorded crime figures were published alongside the British Crime Survey (BCS), the government's preferred measure for quantifying crime levels.

The Home Office said that the rise in police recorded crime was due to an increase in the reporting and recording of 'low level' thuggery and more willingness by victims to report sex offences and domestic violence.

According to the BCS, violent crime overall fell by 3% over the 12 months to September. The Home Office also noted that around two thirds of police recorded violent crimes did not involve serious physical injury to the victim.

Offences involving firearms (other than air weapons) increased by 2% in the year to March 2003 – which is a sharp reduction on the 34% reached the previous year.

Last year there were 80 killings involving firearms compared to 98 the year before - a reduction of 18%, the Home Office said.

According to BCS figures, crime overall in England and Wales "remained stable" compared to the same quarter last year. Police recorded crime figures indicated that levels had remained "unchanged".

The risk of being a victim of crime remains at 27% - its lowest level since 1981, the Home Office said.

The quarterly update showed that burglary, robbery and vehicle crime, had "fallen significantly". Police recorded figures on robbery found a fall of 2%. Vehicle crime was down by 5%, according to the BCS, and by 8%, according to police.

The statistics are published as the Home Office announced that from today, those in possession of an illegal firearm will receive a mandatory five-year prison sentence. This is in addition to new laws in the Anti-Social Behaviour Act to combat the misuse of air weapons and imitation firearms.

(gmcg)

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