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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 October 2005, 12:40 GMT 13:40 UK
Violent crime shows 6% increase
Police tape
The Home Office says police have improved recording of violent crime
Violent crime in the three months to the end of June increased by 6% on the same period last year, according to quarterly Home Office figures.

But crime overall fell by 2%, the figures for England and Wales showed.

The Home Office said the figures for violent offences - up from 301,100 to 318,200 - reflected improved crime recording and more proactive policing.

Annual crime figures published in July indicated one million violent offences in 2004-5 - up 7% on the previous year.

The 318,200 violent offences, including murder, serious wounding and other life-threatening crimes, in the second quarter of 2005, also represented a rise of more than 30,000 from the 284,900 recorded in the first quarter.

It is not enough to reduce crime if people do not perceive that reduction
Home Secretary Charles Clarke

Under the National Crime Recording Standard established in 2002, low-level anti-social behaviour not previously included started being recorded as violent crime.

Home Secretary Charles Clarke said: "It is true that half of all recorded violent crime results in no injury and that recording changes introduced in 2002 resulted in the increased recording of violent crimes, particularly for less serious violent offences.

"But I do accept the figures are still too high."

Fear of crime

While recorded crime fell 2% in the quarterly figures, the alternative British Crime Survey (BCS), which polls people's experience of crime, found overall offences in England and Wales fell 5% in the 12 months to June 2005.

During the same period, 24% of people were the victims of at least one crime, the BCS indicates - the lowest percentage since the survey began in 1981.

Mr Clarke said: "This is a considerable achievement demonstrating the success of government initiatives on crime reduction and should not be underestimated.

"However, I recognise that the fear of crime is too high - it is not enough to reduce crime if people do not perceive that reduction.

The government should defer 24-hour drinking until it has got a grip on the problem of binge-drinking
Shadow home affairs minister Edward Garnier

"I also accept that this fear is largely driven by the increase in recorded violent crime."

Shadow home affairs minister Edward Garnier said violent crime was continuing to "spiral out of control".

He said: "The government should defer 24-hour drinking until it has got a grip on the problem of binge-drinking, which is fuelling violent crime."

Mr Garnier also blamed "the government's failure even to begin fighting the war on drugs" for rising violence.

New licensing laws allowing 24-hour drinking are due to come into force on 24 November.

Imitation weapons

The recorded crime figures indicated domestic burglaries fell by 11% and car thefts by 8%.

But there was a 25% increase in drug offences - from 32,900 to 41,100 - and a 4% rise in robberies.

Further targeting will help stamp out the problems faced by all communities in terms of thuggery and low-level violence
Association of Chief Police Officers President Chris Fox

Provisional figures for firearms offences, ahead of final statistics due in January, showed those had increased 5% on last year, totalling 11,160.

But Association of Chief Police Officers president Chris Fox said: "This year has seen a fall in the number of fatalities from 70 to 60, with the use of shotguns down by 13% and the use of handguns down by 8%.

"The 5% rise in gun crime overall reflects a rise in the use of imitation firearms of 28%."

He also pointed to changes in recording practices of violent crime, but said it was hoped "further targeting will help stamp out the problems faced by all communities in terms of thuggery and low-level violence".

"In the run-up to Christmas, we will be stepping up activity right across the country to combat this growing problem of drink-related violence."




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