Saturday 21 January 2017

Police Chief Issues Warning Over Rising In Murder And Knife Offences


The Metropolitan police commissioner has declared that the “warning lights are flashing” as the latest official figures confirmed a rise in violent crime across England and Wales, particularly in murder and knife crime.

Violent crime in England and Wales has risen by 22%, including “genuine but small” increases in murder and knife crime, and overall crime rose by 8% in the 12 months to September, according to police recorded crime figures.

The quarterly crime figures published by the Office for National Statistics also report industry data showing a 39% increase in fraud involving UK-issued debit and credit cards to 1.9m.

The Crime Survey of England and Wales (CSEW), which is based on interviews with people about their experience of crime, however, shows no statistically significant rise in violent crime.

For the first time, official estimates of online crime including 3.6m fraud offences and 2m computer misuse offences have been included in the headline crime survey estimate, giving a total of 11.8m estimated offences in England and Wales in the year to September. This compares with the 4.7m offences recorded by the police – a rise of 8%.

The ONS said while the police recorded an annual rise of 22% in violence against the person offences, the increases were largely driven by changes in recording processes and the inclusion of additional harassment offences within the series.

However, the official statisticians said there did appear to be genuine smaller increases in some of the lower volume but higher harm categories of police recorded violence including homicide and knife crime.

The Met commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, said: “After the last few years when we have reduced crime significantly in London, as you’ll have seen from the crime figures today, the warning lights are flashing. The number of traditional crimes is rising, including in London, and the scale of online crime and fraud is just becoming apparent.

“The mayor of London said this week that inadequate funding will make it ‘near impossible to maintain the number of police on our streets.’ He’s worried. I’m worried.”

Hogan-Howe added: “But the previous chancellor, George Osborne, said in 2015 that ‘there will be real terms protection for police funding. The police protect us, and we’re going to protect the police’. I know people were pleased to hear that commitment, and I’m sure this government will want to honour that promise to Londoners.”

John Flatley, head of ONS crime statistics and analysis, said: “In its 35-year history, the crime survey has charted changing trends in crimes experienced by the population. In the past burglary and theft of vehicles were the high-volume crimes driving trends but their numbers have fallen substantially since then. When the CSEW started, fraud was not considered a significant threat and the internet had yet to be invented.

“Today’s figures demonstrate how crime has changed, with fraud now the most commonly experienced offence. However, it should be emphasised that the new headline figures, including fraud and computer misuse, are not comparable with those from earlier years.”

The detailed figures show a 22% rise in the murder rate in England and Wales to 695 homicides, 125 more than the previous year. However, this increase includes the 96 people killed in the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 which have been recorded as manslaughter. The ONS said the rise in the murder rate was 5% if the Hillsborough deaths were excluded.

The quarterly police recorded crime figures also show an 11% increase in knife crime to 30,838 offences. While the statisticians say there are reporting and recording issues involved in police recorded crime figures, they say the recent increase in knife crime is supported by NHS A&E data showing a 13% increase in hospital admissions for knife wounds.

Knife crime has risen over the past two years, but the ONS says the current level remains below that of 2011, which was followed by a three-year decline.

The majority of police forces (35 of the 44) recorded a rise in offences involving knives and sharp instruments compared with the previous year. The largest contributor to the total rise was the Metropolitan police (accounting for 15% of the increase),” said the ONS.

The figures also show an increase of 12% in sexual offences recorded by the police in the latest year – up to 112,021 offences – including a 13% rise in rape to 37,813 attacks compared with the previous year. But the ONS says police recorded crime data does not currently provide a reliable indication of trends in sexual offences, and the increases are believed to have resulted in part from an improvement in the recording of sexual offences by the police.

The ONS said the CSEW showed the proportion of adults who had been victims of sexual assaults in the last year had not significantly changed at 2% and had been at the same level since 2009.

The crime survey figures show that younger women were more likely to be victims of domestic abuse than other groups with 11.9% of women aged 16 to 19 reporting offences between the end of March 2014 and the end of March 2016.

In comparison, 6.1% of all adults and 6.9% of men aged 16 to 19 were victims of domestic abuse for the same time period.



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