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Crime ‘lowest since records began’ – despite falling officer numbers

The crime rate has fallen again, down to the lowest level since records began. New statistics from the ONS show that crime in England and Wales fell by 9% over the past year.

The number of police officers is also at the lowest level since 2002, and there are 14,186 fewer officers than when the Coalition came to power in 2010.

There has been a 15% fall in car theft, 7% in burglary, 6% in violent crime and 13% fall in vandalism. The number of antisocial behaviour incidents is down 17% but theft from the person rose by 9%, there was a 1% rise in the number of sexual offences (much of which has been attributed to historic offences in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal and Operation Yewtree) and a 27% rise in fraud.

Deputy Chief Constable Jeff Farrar of the Association of Chief Police Officers said: “A key success reflected in the figures is the significant reduction in the number of victims of anti-social behaviour, with 458,166 fewer offences compared with last year.

“However, although police recorded crime is down by 7% we are seeing some emerging trends. Data shows that fraud is up 27%. Although this increase is partly down to the introduction of a more efficient centralised recording system, it also shows us that criminals are adopting new tactics and crime is moving away from more traditional forms to the online world.

“The need for policing to deliver safe and confident neighbourhoods and engage effectively with the public will remains so we are disappointed to also see in today's figures that theft against the person is up 9%. The major driver is the rising number of mobile phone thefts.”

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