[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 22 July, 2004, 21:47 GMT 22:47 UK
Violent crime figures rise by 12%
Tony Blair and Michael Winner
Tony Blair and Michael Winner visit National Police Memorial site
Police in England and Wales recorded a 12% jump in violent crime over the past year and a 1% rise in crime overall, according to their latest figures.

However, the British Crime Survey - which the Home Office regards as more accurate - suggests that crime in general actually fell by 5%.

Home Secretary David Blunkett said the results reinforced the 'major progress' made in fighting crime since 1997.

But shadow home secretary David Davis called for 40,000 more police officers.

The BCS, which questioned 10,000 people, also suggested crime has fallen by 39% since 1995.

The Home Office publishes both results to give a broader picture of crime.

Facts and figures with details of offences and regions

The police statistics cover only those crimes recorded by police, while the BSC includes unreported and unrecorded crime and can show trends and regional differences.

Mr Davis told BBC News the BCS did not record "various categories of violent crime", including murder and rape, retail crime, drug taking, or offences in which the victims were aged below 16.

"The most reliable measure of crime is that which is reported to the police," he added.

"We're facing over a million violent crimes a year for the first time in history."

But Home Office Minister Hazel Blears told BBC News the BCS was "accepted as the most reliable source of information".

We're facing over a million violent crimes a year for the first time in history
Shadow home secretary David Davis

The police were doing a "fantastic job", she added.

The Home Office highlighted "dramatic reductions" in burglary and vehicle theft, which have halved since 1995.

The chance of being a victim of crime has also reduced dramatically, from 40% to 26% since 1995.

There are now 5.3 million fewer victims of crime than in 1995 and the risk of being a victim of burglary is now half that of nine years ago.

While the BCS suggested violent crime had fallen by 3%, police records of violent crime increased by 12%.

These are promising results which reinforce the major progress made in fighting crime since 1997
David Blunkett

The Home Office attributed this difference to a change in police recording practices, a record number of police officers to register crimes, and an increasing willingness by the public to report crime.

Over half of all crimes now counted as violent do not involve any injury to the victim.

Violent crime such as common assault includes pushing and shoving, with little or no physical injury to the victim.

Mr Blunkett said the focus now was on low-level thuggery, anti-social behaviour and the sorts of alcohol-fuelled incidents that are recorded by the police as 'violent crime'."

About half of violent crime is fuelled by alcohol, which has prompted the Home Office and the Association of Chief Police Officers to co-ordinate a national crack down on alcohol-fuelled violence during the summer.

Police will work with trading standards, the fire service and the drinks industry to target bars, supermarkets and clubs who sell to under 18s.

The BBC's Margaret Gilmore
"People's fear of crime is still out of all proportion to the reality"


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific