Violent crime goes up but is less serious

Violent crime has risen by two per cent but fewer incidents result in injury and fewer are reported to the police, the latest crime figures reveal.

The British Crime Survey (BCS), which has been measuring people’s experiences of crime for the past 25 years, finds serious violence is down seven per cent on the year, although violent crimes not resulting in injury have risen by 15 per cent.

But police recorded crime, the other measure used by the government, shows violent crime has fallen in the three months to September, down one per cent. This reflects a general fall in overall recorded crime of three per cent.

However, the BCS reveals that the risk of being a victim of crime in the UK has gone up slightly from 23 per cent to 24 per cent, and robberies have also risen, by 14 per cent according to the BCS and by one per cent according to police figures.

Home Office minister Tony McNulty acknowledged there was “still much more work to be done”, but noted there were 23,000 fewer robberies committed last year than five years ago, partly due to new initiatives carried out by police.

However, shadow home secretary David Davis said his attitude to the rise in robbery and violent crime showed a “staggering complacency towards public safety”.

He also pointed to a nine per cent increase in the number of drug offences committed, saying it represented a “serial failure” on the part of ministers.

“Labour need to realise that drugs destroy lives, ruin communities and fuel all other crime. If we do not tackle drugs all our other efforts to fight crime are rendered worthless,” he said.

Elsewhere, the BCS reveals vandalism is up 11 per cent, but burglary and vehicle thefts have fallen or remained stable on both measures. And although drug offences have gone up, the number of firearm offences fell in the three months to September.

Mr McNulty said: “We have already seen massive reductions in crime in this country – 8.4 million fewer crimes committed last year than in 1995 – and I am encouraged by the latest police and BCS crime statistics.

“The government is determined to continue reducing crime and despite the many positives in today’s statistics, we are not complacent and there is still much more work to be done.”

However, Mr Davis warned the current crisis engulfing the prison system meant that fewer offenders would be locked up for their crimes, ensuring they would not get the rehabilitation they required and that they would remain a threat to the public.