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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 April 2006, 16:12 GMT 17:12 UK
London crime 'at five-year low'
Replica weapon
Gun crime is up, but other offences have dropped, police say
Crime in London has dropped to its lowest level in five years, according to Metropolitan Police statistics.

It said crime in the capital fell by 3% in the 12 months to the end of March to just under one million offences.

Murders fell by 10% to their lowest rate since 1998 while racist, homophobic and domestic crimes also dropped, the Met said.

Robberies, however, rose by just over 16%, blamed on school pupils stealing mobile phones off each other.

'Promising results'

The Met said it was solving more crimes.

Its "sanction detection" rate - the level of offences which result in either a charge, summons, caution or penalty notice or those taken into consideration at court - jumped to 18%.

The Met said this was the highest rate for several years.

Deputy Commissioner Paul Stephenson said: "Through the hard work of our dedicated police officers and support staff, we are seeing some promising results.

I believe we are seeing something quite important happening
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"With overall crime falling and more crimes solved, we are making London a safer place to live and work for everyone, except criminals.

"Add to this recent surveys indicating an increased satisfaction with police visibility and feelings of safety, then I believe we are seeing something quite important happening."

The new figures come as Scotland Yard Commissioner Sir Ian Blair celebrates his first year as the head of London's police.

Gun crime rose by 4.2% compared to the previous year, and there were 82 more knife-related crimes.

Sir Ian has said one of his major priorities is to tackle the soaring robbery rates among young people. He is working with the mobile phone industry on a new charter to make sure stolen phone handsets are not able to be used.

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