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Statistical bulletin: Crime in England and Wales, Year Ending September 2013 This product is designated as National Statistics

Released: 23 January 2014 Download PDF

Key points

  • In accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007, statistics based on police recorded crime data have been assessed against the Code of Practice for Official Statistics and found not to meet the required standard for designation as National Statistics. The full assessment report can be found on the UK Statistics Authority website. Data from the Crime Survey for England and Wales continue to be badged as National Statistics.
  • ONS will continue to publish and provide commentary on police recorded crime data pending consultation with users about their needs for such data in the light of the forthcoming inspection of data integrity being carried out by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary. Further information on the interpretation of recorded crime data is provided in the User Guide.
  • Latest figures from the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) estimate that there were 8.0 million crimes against households and resident adults in the previous twelve months, based on interviews with a nationally representative sample in the year ending September 2013. This was down 10% compared with the previous year’s survey, and is the lowest estimate over the history of the survey, which began in 1981.
  • The reduction of crime measured by the CSEW was led by statistically significant decreases in both household (vehicle and property related) crime and personal (theft from the person and violent) crime. Household crime was down 10%, while personal crime was down 9%.
  • The CSEW also estimated there were 859,000 crimes experienced by children aged 10 to 15 resident in the household population.
  • The police recorded 3.7 million offences in the year ending September 2013, a decrease of 3% compared with the previous year.
  • There were decreases across most of the main categories of police recorded crime. However, there are signs of increasing upward pressures in some offence types in the police recorded crime data. For example, shoplifting showed a 4% increase and theft from the person increased by 7%. Continuing falls in high volume crimes such as other types of theft offences and criminal damage mean that overall levels of crime have continued to fall.
  • The number of sexual offences recorded by the police increased by 17%. This increase is likely to be partly due to a continuation of a ‘Yewtree effect’, whereby a greater number of victims have come forward to report historical sexual offences to the police.
  • In the year ending September 2013, 201,035 fraud offences were recorded by the police and Action Fraud based on reports from members of the public. This represents a volume increase of 34%. This rise should be seen in the context of a move towards improved recording of fraud following a move to centralised recording by the police. In addition, there were 292,814 reports of fraud to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau from industry bodies.

Introduction

This quarterly release presents the most recent crime statistics from two different sources: the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW; previously known as the British Crime Survey), and police recorded crime. It also draws on data from other sources to provide a more comprehensive picture of crime and disorder, including incidents of anti-social behaviour recorded by the police and other transgressions of the law that are dealt with by the courts but are not covered in the recorded crime collection.

There is significant interest in crime statistics and a diverse range of users. These include elected national and local representatives (such as MPs, Police and Crime Commissioners and local councillors), police forces, those delivering support or services to victims of crime, lobby groups, journalists, academic researchers, teachers and students.

These statistics are used by central and local government and the police service for planning and monitoring service delivery and for resource allocation. The statistics are also used to inform public debate about crime and the public policy response to it.

Following an assessment of ONS crime statistics by the UK Statistics Authority, the statistics based on police recorded crime data have been found not to meet the required standard for designation as National Statistics1. Data from the CSEW continue to be badged as National Statistics.

Coverage and coherence - CSEW

The CSEW and recorded crime provide generally good coverage of crime committed against the public, particularly for offences involving physical harm, loss or damage to property. Together they provide a more comprehensive picture than could be obtained from either series alone. However, neither the CSEW, nor police recorded crime, aim to provide complete counts of crime, and there are exclusions from both series.

The CSEW is a face-to-face survey in which people resident in households in England and Wales are asked about their experiences of crime in the 12 months prior to the interview. Respondents are interviewed in their own homes by trained interviewers using a structured questionnaire that is administered on a laptop computer using specialist survey software. The questions asked do not use technical terms or legal definitions but are phrased in plain English language. The information collected during the interview is then reviewed later by a team of specialist coders employed by the survey contractors (currently TNS-BMRB) who determine whether or not what was reported amounts to a crime in law and, if so, what offence has been experienced. This ‘offence coding’ aims to reflect the Home Office Counting Rules for recorded crime which govern how the police record offences reported to them.

Since it began, the CSEW has been conducted by an independent survey research organisation using trained interviewers to collect data from sampled respondents. The interviewers have no vested interest in the results of the survey. For the crime types and population groups it covers, the CSEW has a consistent methodology and is unaffected by changes in levels of public reporting to the police, recording practice or police activity. As such, the survey is widely seen to operate as an independent reality-check of the police figures. The independence of the survey has been further strengthened by the transfer of responsibility from the Home Office to the ONS in April 2012.

The CSEW has a higher number of reported volumes than recorded crime as the survey is able to capture all offences by those interviewed, not just those that have been reported to the police and then recorded. However, it does cover a narrower range of offences than the recorded crime collection (see below).

The CSEW has necessary exclusions from its main count of crime (for example, homicide, crimes against businesses and other organisations, and drug possession). The survey also excludes sexual offences from its main crime count given the sensitivities around reporting this in the context of a face-to-face interview. However, at the end of the main interview there is a self-completion element (also via a computer) where adults aged 16 to 59 are asked about their experience of domestic and sexual violence and these results are reported separately.

Since the survey started in 1982 (covering crime experienced in 1981) a core module of victimisation questions has asked about a range of offences experienced either by the household (such as burglary) or by the individual respondent (such as robbery). The offences covered by this core module have remained unchanged since the survey started.

The offence of fraud, whether committed in a traditional or newer ways (such as over the internet), is not part of this core module. Other offences which are committed via cyberspace (such as harassment) are also not covered by the existing questions. However, supplementary modules of questions have been included in the survey from time to time in an attempt to better understand the nature of these newer types of crime. In addition, methodological work is ongoing to explore the feasibility of adding questions to the core module to cover newer types of crime.

ONS have published a discussion paper alongside this bulletin regarding the measurement of cyber-crime and fraud offences. While highlighting the challenges in accurately classifying and measuring crimes that occur over the internet, the paper outlines current work being undertaken by the ONS looking at extending the main victimisation module in the CSEW to cover elements of cyber-crime2.

The survey is based on a sample of the population, and therefore estimates have a margin of quantifiable (and non quantifiable) error associated with them. The latter includes: when respondents have recalled crimes in the reference period that actually occurred outside that period (‘telescoping’); crimes that did occur in the reference period may not have been mentioned at all (either because respondents failed to recall a fairly trivial incident or, conversely, because they did not want to disclose an incident, such as a domestic assault). Some may have said they reported a crime to the police when they did not (a 'socially desirable' response); and, some incidents reported during the interview could be miscoded (‘interviewer/coder error’).

In 2009 the CSEW was extended to cover children aged 10 to 15, and this release also incorporates results from this element of the survey. However, due to the long time series for which comparable data are available, the main analysis and commentary is restricted to adults and households.

The CSEW has a nationally representative sample of around 35,000 adults and 3,500 children (aged 10 to 15 years) per year. The response rates for the survey in 2012/13 were 73% and 67% respectively. The survey is weighted to adjust for possible non-response bias and to ensure the sample reflects the profile of the general population. For more details of the methodology see the CSEW technical report.

Coverage and coherence – Police recorded crime and other sources of crime statistics

Police recorded crime figures are supplied by the 43 territorial police forces of England and Wales, plus the British Transport Police, via the Home Office to ONS. The coverage of police recorded crime statistics is defined by the Notifiable Offence List3, which includes a broad range of offences, from murder to minor criminal damage, theft and public order offences. However, there are some, mainly less serious offences, that are excluded from the recorded crime collection. These ‘non-notifiable’ crimes include many incidents that might generally be considered to be anti-social behaviour but that may also be crimes in law (including by-laws) such as littering, begging and drunkenness. Other non-notifiable offences include driving under the influence of alcohol, parking offences and TV licence evasion. These offences are not covered in either the main two series and are separately reported on in this release to provide additional context.

Police recorded crime is the primary source of sub-national crime statistics and for lower-volume crimes. It covers people (including, for example, residents of institutions and tourists as well as the resident population) and sectors (for example commercial crime) excluded from the CSEW sample. Recorded crime has a wider coverage of offences, for example covering homicide, sexual offences, and crimes without a specific, identifiable victim (referred to as ‘Other crimes against society’) not included in the main CSEW crime count. Police recorded crime also provides good measures of well-reported crimes but does not cover any crimes that are not reported to or discovered by the police. It is also affected by changes in reporting and recording practices. Like any administrative data, police recorded crime will be affected by the rules governing the recording of data, systems in place, and operational decisions in respect of the allocation of resources.

As well as the main police recorded crime series, there are additional collections providing detail on offences involving the use of knives and firearms, which are too low in volume to be measured reliably by the CSEW.

This quarterly statistical bulletin also draws on data from other sources to provide a more comprehensive picture. These include incidents of anti-social behaviour recorded by the police (which fall outside the coverage of notifiable offences), non-notifiable crimes dealt with by the courts (again outside the coverage of recorded crime or the CSEW), crime reports from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau and the results of the 2012 Commercial Victimisation Survey (a nationally representative sample of business premises in four industrial sectors). More details of these sources can be found in the User Guide to Crime Statistics for England and Wales. Information on UK and international comparisons can be found in the ‘International and UK comparisons’ section.

Notes for introduction

1. The full assessment report can be found on the UK Statistics Authority website. 

2. A discussion paper on the coverage of crime statistics for England and Wales was published on 23 January 2014.

3. The Notifiable Offence List includes all indictable and triable-either-way offences (i.e. offences which could be tried at a crown court) and a few additional closely related summary offences (which would be dealt with by a magistrate). For information on the classifications used for notifiable crimes recorded by the police, see Appendix 1 of the User Guide.

Time periods covered

The latest Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) figures presented in this release are based on interviews conducted between October 2012 and September 2013, measuring each respondent’s experiences of crime in the 12 months before the interview. It therefore covers a rolling reference period with, for example, respondents interviewed in October 2012 reporting on crimes experienced between October 2011 and September 2012 and those interviewed in September 2013 reporting on crimes taking place between September 2012 and August 2013. For that reason, the CSEW tends to lag short-term trends.

Recorded crime figures relate to crimes recorded by the police during the year ending September 2013 and therefore are not subject to the time lag experienced by the CSEW. Recorded crime figures presented in this release are those notified to the Home Office and that were recorded in the Home Office database on 5 November 2013.

Nine months of the data reported here overlap with the data contained in the previous bulletin and as a result the estimates in successive bulletins are not from independent samples. Therefore, year on year comparisons are made with the previous year; that is, the 12 months period ending September 2012 (rather than those published last quarter). To put the latest dataset in context, data are also shown for the year ending March 2008 (approximately five years ago) and the year ending March 2003 (approximately ten years ago). Additionally, for the CSEW estimates, data for the year ending December 1995, which was the peak of crime in the CSEW (when the survey was conducted on a calendar year basis), is also included.

Accuracy of the statistics

Being based on a sample survey, CSEW estimates are subject to a margin of error. Unless stated otherwise, all changes in CSEW estimates described in the main text are statistically significant at the 95 per cent level. Since the CSEW estimates are based upon a sample survey, it is good practice to publish confidence intervals alongside them. These provide a measure of the reliability of the estimates and these can be found in Chapter 8 of the User Guide.

Police recording practice is governed by the Home Office Counting Rules (HOCR) and the National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS). The HOCR have existed in one form or another since the 1920s. However, in 1998 there were substantial changes which expanded the coverage of notifiable offences to include certain additional summary offences and counts became more victim-based (the number of victims was counted rather than the number of offences).

The NCRS was introduced in April 2002 following a critical report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) in 2000 (Povey, 2000) which showed there was a problem with differing interpretation of the HOCR which resulted in inconsistent recording practices across forces.

The Audit Commission carried out regular independent audits of police data quality between 2003/04 and 2006/07. In their final assessment published in September 2007 (Audit Commission, 2007) they commented that “The police have continued to make significant improvements in crime recording performance and now have better quality crime data than ever before”.

However, both the UK Statistics Authority (2010) and the National Statistician (2011) have highlighted concerns about the absence of such periodic audits. A HMIC quality review in 2009 into the way in which police forces record most serious violence (which at the time was part of a central Government target) found some variation in recording which they partly attributed to the lack of independent monitoring of crime records. In line with a recommendation by the National Statistician, HMIC carried out a review of police crime and incident reports in all forces in England and Wales during 2011 (HMIC, 2012) and they plan a national inspection of Crime Data integrity during 2013/14 which will report later in 2014.

Analysis published by the ONS in January 2013 used a ‘comparable’ sub-set of offences covered by both the CSEW and police recorded crime in order to compare the relationship between the two series. This analysis showed that between 2002/03 and 2006/07 the reduction in the volume of crime measured by the two series was similar, but between 2006/07 and 2011/12 the gap between the two series widened with the police recorded crime series showing a faster rate of reduction.  One possible explanation for this was a gradual erosion of compliance with the NCRS, such that a growing number of crimes reported to the police are not being captured in crime recording systems. For more details see the ‘Analysis of Variation in Crime trends’ methodological note.

Additionally, as part of an ongoing inquiry by the Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) into crime statistics, allegations of under-recording of crime by the police have been made. This inquiry also heard evidence from the Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent in which she referred to improvements in crime recording following an HMIC inspection in Kent that reported in February 2013 (HMIC, 2013). HMIC concluded that in Kent the decision to record a crime was made correctly approximately 90% of the time. In her evidence to the PASC inquiry the Kent PCC reported that subsequent internal audits have indicated compliance with the NCRS has increased to over 95%. This is consistent with the force level breakdown of police recorded crime data which shows a marked increase (up 8%) in the number of crimes recorded in Kent in the last year. Action taken in Kent to improve compliance with the NCRS is likely to have been an important factor in driving this increase1.

ONS are not currently in a position to quantify the level of compliance with the NCRS in other police forces. In the same PASC inquiry the Chief Inspector of Constabulary, Tom Winsor, outlined how HMIC would be undertaking an inspection of the integrity of police recorded crime across all police forces in England and Wales during 2014. The findings of this inspection, which are due to be published in autumn 2014, will help provide further information.

The recorded crime figures are a by-product of a live administrative system which is continually being updated as incidents are logged as crimes and subsequently investigated. Some incidents initially recorded as crime may on further investigation be found not to be a crime (described as being ‘no crimed’). Some offences may change category, for example from theft to robbery. The police return provisional figures to the Home Office on a monthly basis and each month they may supply revised totals for months that have previously been supplied. The Home Office Statistics Unit undertake a series of validation checks on receipt of the data and query outliers with forces who may then re-submit data.

Once a quarter, the Home Office Statistics Unit takes a ‘snapshot’ of the live database and sends back to individual forces their figures for quality assurance. Once the quality assurance process is complete, final data are supplied to ONS. Thus it should be noted that figures in subsequent releases may differ slightly from ones published here. This does not mean that the figures previously published were inaccurate at the time that they were reported. The size of these revisions tend to be small and it is ONS policy not to revise previously published recorded crime figures unless they arise from a genuine error (for example, a force subsequently reports that when supplying theft and robbery figures they had been transposed).

Notes for Accuracy of the statistics

  1. See the transcript for the PASC hearing on Crime Statistics, 19 November 2013.

Recent changes in presentation

ONS undertook a consultation during 2012 over proposed changes to the presentation of crime statistics. A summary response was published in January 2013 and several changes to the presentation of crime statistics were implemented in subsequent bulletins (released in July and October 2013). This included re-classifying some elements of the police recorded crime data series. These changes do not affect the coverage of offences in the police recorded crime series, and are restricted to movement of offences across categories. Further detail of the changes can be found in the relevant sections of this bulletin and a more in-depth explanation of the changes can be found in the: Methodological note: Presentational changes to National Statistics on police recorded crime in England and Wales.

At the same time a number of changes to the presentation of fraud were also implemented. To reflect changes in operational arrangements for reporting and recording of fraud, data presented in the police recorded crime series now include offences recorded by Action Fraud, a public facing national reporting centre that records incidents reported directly to them from the public and other organisations. Since 1 April 2013, Action Fraud has taken over the responsibility for the central police recording of fraud offences.

Over the last couple of years, Action Fraud have taken responsibility for recording fraud in all police forces areas, although the transfer was rolled out at different times for different forces. For example, by the end of December 2012, 24 police force areas had transferred responsibility with the remaining transferring by the end of March 20131. As such, the data presented in this bulletin on fraud cover both offences recorded by individual police forces, and those recorded by Action Fraud. In successive quarterly releases the proportion of fraud offences recorded by individual forces will gradually diminish (and that by Action Fraud will grow) as forces complete the switch over during 2012/13. It will not be until July 2014, when figures are presented for the 2013/14 financial year, that all police recorded fraud will appear under Action Fraud. Although Action Fraud receives reports of fraud from victims across the UK, data presented in this bulletin cover fraud offences where the victim resides in England or Wales only.

As part of the changes to the presentation of police recorded crime, it was decided to move the offence ‘Making off without payment’ from the overall category of fraud to theft. Previously such offences were recorded within ‘Preserved other fraud and repealed fraud offences’ although it was not separately identifiable from within that category.

From April 2013 police forces have been separately recording making off without payment, and this will now appear in the ‘All other theft offences’ category. In order to provide a consistent back series of data back to 2002/03, ONS requested an ad hoc collection from all forces. This is available for the first time in this quarter, and can be found in Appendix table A4 (432.5 Kb Excel sheet) .

Future changes

On top of the alterations to presentation already implemented, the consultation on changes to the content of regular crime statistics outputs also proposed minor changes to the CSEW classifications (such as moving ‘Robbery’ out of the ‘Violence’ offence category into a separate standalone category to match the presentation of recorded crime). A work programme is underway to implement these, which also includes a related piece of work to produce revised survey weights following the release of the 2011 Census-based population estimates. New CSEW crime classifications are currently planned to be published alongside the April 2014 bulletin.

Further information

Further information on definitions and interpretations of the statistics can be found in the User Guide. Data published alongside this commentary include a set of bulletin tables containing the data tables and the data used to produce graphs in this publication. A further set of reference tables provides more detailed estimates and counts of crime levels and links to these tables are given in the ‘List of products’ section.

Notes for Recent changes in presentation

  1. For more information regarding the date when each police force transferred responsibility to Action Fraud see Section 5.4: Fraud of the User Guide.

Summary

Overall level of crime – Latest figures from the CSEW

Latest figures from the CSEW show that there were an estimated 8.0 million incidents of crime against households and resident adults (aged 16 and over) in England and Wales for the year ending September 20131. This represents a 10% decrease compared with the previous year’s survey.

This latest estimate is the lowest since the survey began in 1981. The total number of CSEW incidents is estimated to be 20% lower than the 2007/08 survey, and is now less than half its peak level in 19952 (Figure 1).

The CSEW also estimates 859,000 crimes experienced by children aged 10 to 15 in the year ending September 2013. Of this number, 54% were violent crimes (464,000), while most of the remaining crimes were thefts of personal property (334,000). Incidents of vandalism to personal property experienced by children were less common (61,000 crimes; Tables 22 to 24).

Overall level of crime – Latest figures from Police recorded crime

The police recorded 3.7 million offences in the year ending September 2013, a decrease of 3% compared with the previous year (Table 2)3. Police recorded crime figures continue to show year-on-year reductions and the latest figures are 38% lower than 2002/03, when the NCRS was introduced.

While there are signs of increasing upward pressures in certain offence types in the police recorded crime data (for example shoplifting showed a 4% increase, and theft from the person increased by 7%) continuing falls in high volume crime types such as other theft offences and criminal damage mean that overall levels of crime recorded by the police have continued to fall.

Figure 1: Trends in police recorded crime and CSEW, 1981 to year ending September 2013 (Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics)

Figure 1: Trends in police recorded crime and CSEW, 1981 to year ending September 2013 (Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics)

Notes:

  1. Sources: Crime Survey for England and Wales - Office for National Statistics, Police recorded crime - Home Office
  2. The data on this chart refer to different time periods: a) 1981 to 1999 refer to crimes experienced in the calendar year (January to December); b) from 2001/02 onwards the estimates relate to crimes experienced in the 12 months before interview, based on interviews carried out in that financial year (April to March); and c) the last two data points relate to interviews carried out in the rolling 12 month periods for the latest available two years (October to September).

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Victim-based crime accounted for 84% of all police recorded crime in the most recent twelve month period, and fell by 4% in the year ending September 2013 compared with the previous year. Within victim-based crime, there were decreases across most of the police recorded crime categories compared with the previous year. The exceptions to this were theft from the person and shoplifting (mentioned above), and sexual offences, which were up 17%.

Other crimes against society accounted for 11% of police recorded crime and showed a decrease of 7% with the previous year, with 394,405 offences recorded by the police.

The remaining 5% of police recorded crimes were fraud offences. There were 201,035 fraud offences recorded by both the police and Action Fraud in the year ending September 2013 (an increase of 34% on the previous year). However, the numbers should be interpreted with caution. It is unclear the extent to which this reflects a genuine increase in such crimes or whether the move to the centralised recording of such offences has led to improved counting of fraud offences; see the ‘Total fraud offences recorded by the police (including via Action Fraud)’ section.

In the year ending June 2013 (the latest period for which data are available) there were around 1 million convictions in magistrates courts for non-notifiable offences (not covered in the recorded crime collection) and 38,000 Penalty Notices for Disorder were issued in relation to non-notifiable offences (Table 27a)4.

Overall level of crime – Other sources of crime statistics

In addition to the fraud offences recorded by Action Fraud which are included in the police recorded crime series, fraud data is also collected from industry bodies by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB), which provides further context. In the year to September 2013, there were 292,814 reports of fraud to the NFIB from industry bodies, the vast majority of which is related to banking and payment related fraud.

Around 2.2 million incidents of anti-social behaviour (ASB) were recorded by the police for the year ending September 20135. Excluding incidents recorded by the British Transport Police, the number of ASB incidents in the year ending September 2013 decreased by 9% compared with the previous year6. However, it should be noted that a HMIC review found that there was a wide variation in the quality of decision making associated with the recording of ASB. As a result, ASB incident data should be interpreted with caution (Figure 17).

The CSEW does not cover crimes against businesses and police recorded crime can only provide a partial picture (those offences which are reported to them). Figures from the 2012 Commercial Victimisation Survey (the latest data which are available) estimated that there were 9.2 million incidents of crime against businesses in England and Wales in the four sectors covered by the survey (wholesale and retail, manufacturing, accommodation and food, and transportation and storage) in the preceding 12 months. This equates to approximately 13 incidents of crime per business (Table 28).

Trends in victim-based crime – CSEW

The CSEW provides coverage of most victim-based crimes, although there are necessary exclusions from its main collection, such as homicide and sexual offences. For more information on what is and is not included, see the ‘Coverage and coherence’ section in the Introduction.

Levels of violent crime estimated by the CSEW showed a statistically significant decrease of 13% in the year ending September 2013 compared with the previous year. This follows on from large falls seen in the CSEW between 1995 and 2004/05, with current estimates at less than half the level seen at the highest level reported, in 1995 (Table 5a).

Overall household crime measured by the survey in the year ending September 2013 showed a statistically significant decrease of 10% compared with the previous year; a result of decreases in other household theft, bicycle theft, and vandalism 7. Estimates for both other household theft and vandalism are at their lowest levels since the survey began in 1981 ( Appendix table A1 (432.5 Kb Excel sheet) ).

There was a 19% decrease in CSEW other household theft in the year ending September 2013 compared with the previous year. It is still too early to say whether this represents a change from the upward trends seen in recent years. Despite the latest decrease, the most recent estimate remains 6% higher than the 2007/08 survey. Peak levels of other household theft were recorded in the mid 1990s and the latest estimate is half the level seen in the 1995 survey.

Bicycle theft in the CSEW decreased by 15% in September 2013 compared to the previous year. This is the lowest level reported since 2004/05.

After peaks in both the mid 1990s and 2006/07, CSEW vandalism has since shown more substantial decreases in recent years than other offence types. When compared with the same period a year earlier, vandalism again recorded a decrease; 8% in the year to September 2013.

Table 1: Number of CSEW incidents for year ending September 2013 and percentage change (1)

England and Wales

Adults aged 16 and over/households
    Oct 2012 to Sep 2013 compared with:
Offence group2 Oct-12 to Sep-133 Jan-95 to Dec-95 Apr-02 to Mar-03 Apr-07 to Mar-08 Oct-11 to Sep-12
  Number of incidents (thousands), percentage change and significance4
Vandalism 1,658 -50 * -34 * -36 * -8 *
Burglary 632 -64 * -34 * -11 * -3  
Vehicle-related theft 1,040 -76 * -56 * -29 * -4  
Bicycle theft 399 -39 * 12   -7   -15 *
Other household theft 1,096 -51 * -19 * 6   -19 *
Household acquisitive crime 3,168 -64 * -37 * -13 * -11 *
ALL HOUSEHOLD CRIME 4,827 -60 * -36 * -23 * -10 *
Unweighted base - household crime 35,791                
Theft from the person 563 -17 * -18 * -3   2  
Other theft of personal property 949 -54 * -29 * -4   -7  
All violence 1,681 -60 * -38 * -24 * -13 *
       with injury 916 -62 * -36 * -14 * -13  
       without injury 766 -57 * -40 * -33 * -14  
Personal acquisitive crime 1,689 -45 * -28 * -10 * -7  
ALL PERSONAL CRIME 3,193 -54 * -33 * -15 * -9 *
Unweighted base - personal crime 35,829                
ALL CSEW CRIME 8,020 -58 * -35 * -20 * -10 *

Table notes:

  1. Source: Crime Survey for England and Wales, Office for National Statistics

  2. For more information about the crime types included in this table, see Section 5 of the User Guide.

  3. Base sizes for data year ending September 2013 are smaller than previous years, due to sample size reductions introduced in April 2012.

  4. Statistically significant change at the 5% level is indicated by an asterisk.

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Trends in victim-based crime – Police recorded crime

Figure 2 shows selected police recorded crime offences focusing on those with notable changes in the year ending September 2013 compared with the previous year.

Figure 2: Selected victim-based police recorded crime offences: volumes and percentage change between year ending September 2012 and year ending September 2013 (Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics)

Figure 2: Selected victim-based police recorded crime offences: volumes and percentage change between year ending September 2012 and year ending September 2013 (Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics)

Notes:

  1. Source: Police recorded crime, Home Office

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The 4% decrease in victim-based crimes in the year to September 2013 came as a result of decreases in all major offence categories, with the exception of sexual offences. Violence against the person, robbery, total theft offences, and criminal damage and arson all decreased, driving the fall in overall police recorded crime.

Violence against the person offences recorded by the police showed a 2% fall compared with the previous year (Table 6b) and is at one of the lowest recorded levels since 2002/03. This equates to approximately 11 offences recorded per 1,000 population in the year ending September 2013 compared with 14 offences recorded per 1,000 population five years ago, in 2007/08 (Table 6a). However, the sub category violence without injury recorded an increase of 1% in the year ending September 2013 compared with the previous year. Violence with injury decreased 3% over the same period ( Appendix table A4 (432.5 Kb Excel sheet) ).

In the year ending September 2013 the police recorded 542 homicides, 11 fewer than in the previous year (Table 6a)8. The number of homicides increased from around 300 per year in the early 1960s to over 800 per year in the early years of this century, which was at a faster rate than population growth over that period9. Over the past decade however, the volume of homicides has decreased while the population of England and Wales has continued to grow.

Firearm offences have fallen 5% in the year ending September 2013 compared with the previous year, continuing the falls seen since their peak in 2005/06. The number of offences that involved a knife or sharp instrument has decreased by 9% over the same period10.

Robberies fell 10% in the year ending September 2013 compared with the previous year, from 68,807 offences to 61,836 offences. This is equivalent to around 1 offence recorded per 1,000 population and is the lowest level since the introduction of the NCRS in 2002/03 (Table 7). With the exception of a notable rise in the number of robberies in 2005/06 and 2006/07 there has been a general downward trend in robbery offences since 2002/03. The overall decrease has been driven by falls in most of the large metropolitan force areas, where robbery offences tend to be concentrated (more than half of all robbery offences were recorded in London alone). Two of the more notable drops were in the Metropolitan Police and West Yorkshire police force areas (both down 13%).

Sexual offences recorded by the police increased by 17% in the year ending September 2013 compared with the previous year, to a total of 59,466 across England and Wales. Within this, the number of offences of rape and other sexual offences both recorded 17% increases.

There is evidence to suggest that these increases are partly a result of the Operation Yewtree investigation, connected to the Jimmy Savile inquiry. Whilst some of these increases will be a direct consequence of the crimes reported as part of Operation Yewtree, there is evidence to suggest that there has been a wider “Yewtree effect” whereby there is increased willingness on the part of the victims to come forward and report historical sexual offences11. There is also evidence that there has been an increase in the number of sexual offences recorded by the police that had taken place in the same 12 month period as the offence was recorded. For more information, see the ‘Sexual offences’ section.

Total theft offences recorded by the police in the year ending September 2013 showed a 4% decrease compared with the previous year, continuing the year-on-year decrease seen since 2002/03. The majority of the categories in this offence group (burglary, vehicle offences, bicycle theft and all other theft offences) showed decreases compared with the previous year. The two exceptions to this were theft from the person (which includes, for example, pick-pocketing) which rose by 7% in the year ending September 2013 compared with the previous year (from 103,452 offences to 110,408 offences) and shoplifting, which increased by 4% compared with the previous year (from 302,245 offences to 313,693).

Fraud offences

Responsibility for recording national counts of fraud offences has transferred from individual police forces to Action Fraud. This transfer occurred between April 2011 and March 2013. As a result, fraud data presented in this publication now include offences recorded by Action Fraud.

In the year ending September 2013, 201,035 fraud offences were recorded by either the police or Action Fraud in England and Wales (Table 20a). This represents a volume increase of 34% compared with the previous year and an increase of 183% compared with 2007/08. These reported increases over the past twelve months should be seen in the context of the recent move to centralised recording of fraud. As a result, caution should be applied when comparing the latest fraud data with earlier years. In addition, there were 292,814 reports of fraud to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau from industry bodies. For more information, see the ‘Fraud’ section.

Table 2: Number of recorded crimes (1,2) for year ending September 2013 and percentage change (Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics)

England and Wales

Number and percentage change
Oct 2012 to Sep 2013 compared with:
Offence group Oct-12 to Sep-13 Apr-02 to Mar-03 Apr-07 to Mar-08 Oct-11 to Sep-12
       
VICTIM-BASED CRIME 3,129,841 -42 -28 -4
Violence against the person offences 604,174 -15 -19 -2
     Homicide 542 -48 -30 -2
     Violence with injury3 311,483 -16 -31 -3
     Violence without injury4 292,149 -13 -1 1
Sexual offences 59,466 5 14 17
     Rape 18,293 49 44 17
     Other sexual offences 41,173 -7 4 17
Robbery offences 61,836 -44 -27 -10
     Robbery of business property 6,019 -46 -34 -4
     Robbery of personal property 55,817 -44 -26 -11
Theft offences 1,885,983 -45 -22 -4
     Burglary 453,428 -49 -22 -4
     Domestic burglary 222,291 -49 -21 -5
     Non-domestic burglary 231,137 -49 -24 -4
     Vehicle offences 382,461 -64 -42 -3
     Theft of a motor vehicle 76,819 -131 -104 -17
     Theft from a vehicle 284,180 -57 -34 -1
     Interfering with a motor vehicle 21,462 -77 -60 -9
     Theft from the person 110,408 -26 9 7
     Bicycle theft 97,545 0 -6 -7
     Shoplifting 313,693 1 8 4
     All other theft offences5 528,448 -41 -23 -9
Criminal damage and arson 518,382 -53 -50 -9
OTHER CRIMES AGAINST SOCIETY 394,405 2 -27 -7
Drug offences 200,640 40 -13 -8
     Trafficking of drugs 28,946 29 2 -4
     Possession of drugs 171,694 42 -15 -9
Possession of weapons offences 20,114 -45 -46 -5
Public order offences 130,866 1 -40 -8
Miscellaneous crimes against society  42,785 -46 -25 -2
TOTAL FRAUD OFFENCES6 201,035 9 183 34
TOTAL RECORDED CRIME - ALL OFFENCES (INCLUDING FRAUD)6 3,725,281 -38 -25 -3

Table notes:

  1. Source: Police recorded crime, Home Office

  2. Police recorded crime statistics based on data from all 44 forces in England and Wales (including the British Transport Police).

  3. Includes attempted murder, intentional destruction of viable unborn child, causing death by dangerous driving/careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs, more serious wounding or other act endangering life (including grievous bodily harm with and without intent), causing death by aggravated vehicle taking and less serious wounding offences.

  4. Includes threat or conspiracy to murder, harassment, other offences against children and assault without injury (formerly common assault where there is no injury).

  5. All other theft offences now includes all 'making off without payment' offences recorded since 2002/03. Making off without payment was previously included within the fraud offence group, but following a change in the classification for 2013/14, this change has been applied to previous years of data to give a consistent time series.

  6. Action Fraud have taken over the recording of fraud offences on behalf of individual police forces. The process began in April 2011 and was rolled out to all police forces by March 2013. Due to this change, caution should be applied when comparing data over this transitional period and with earlier years.

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Notes for Summary

  1. See section ‘Data Sources – further information’ for more details regarding the data sources and reasons for the differences in the number of crimes seen by each data source.

  2. See Trends in Crime – A short story 2011/12.

  3. Police recorded crimes are notifiable offences which are all crimes that could possibly be tried by a jury (these include some less serious offences, such as minor theft that would not usually be dealt with in this way) plus a few additional closely related offences, such as assault without injury.

  4. Non-notifiable offences are offences dealt with exclusively by a magistrates court or by the police issuing of a Penalty Notice for Disorder or a Fixed Penalty Notice. Along with non-notifiable offences dealt with by the police (such as speeding), these include many offences that may be dealt with by other agencies – for example, prosecutions by TV Licensing or by the DVLA for vehicle registration offences.

  5. ASB incidents recorded by the police are not accredited as National Statistics and are not subject to the same level of consistency and quality of recording as police recorded crime.

  6. 2012/13 was the first year data from the British Transport Police (BTP) were available. In order to compare with previous years, incidents recorded by the BTP are excluded.

  7. CSEW household crime includes burglary and other household theft, vandalism, vehicle-related theft incidents and bicycle theft.

  8. Homicide includes the offences of murder, manslaughter, corporate manslaughter and infanticide. Figures from the Homicide Index for the time period April 2011 to March 2012, which take account of further police investigations and court outcomes, were published on 7 February 2013. The next series is scheduled for publication on 13 February 2014.

  9. Figures from the Homicide Index are less likely to be affected by changes in police recording practice made in 1998 and 2002 so it is possible to examine longer-term trends from police recorded crime.

  10. Only selected violent offences can be broken down by whether a knife or sharp instrument was used. These are homicide, attempted murder, threats to kill, actual and grievous bodily harm, robbery, rape, and sexual assault.

  11. See HMIC’s 2013 report ‘Mistakes were made’.

Overall level of crime

The CSEW estimates that there were 8.0 million incidents of crime for the year ending September 2013, a 10% decrease compared with the previous year (Tables 3a and 3b). This latest estimate is the lowest since the survey began in 1981. The level of incidents in the year ending September 2013 survey is now 20% lower than that of the 2007/08 survey. CSEW estimates of crime have more than halved since peak levels in 1995, representing 11.1 million fewer crimes (Table 3a).

The number of incidents does not simply translate into the number of victims as some people experience more than one crime over the twelve month period they are asked about. Victimisation rates are available throughout this bulletin and in reference tables published alongside this bulletin (see Appendix tables (432.5 Kb Excel sheet) ).

There were 3.7 million offences recorded by police forces in England and Wales in the year to September 2013, the lowest number of offences since the introduction of the NCRS in 2002/031. This was a 3% decrease from the previous year, and continues to follow the year-on-year pattern of reductions seen in recent years (Figure 3). The latest number of offences recorded by the police was 25% lower than 2007/08 and 38% lower than 2002/03 (Tables 4a and b).

This reduction was seen across most police force areas, with the exception of Cumbria, Gwent, Humberside and Merseyside which showed no change, Northumbria, City of London, and British Transport Police, which showed a 1% increase, and Kent which showed an 8% increase. The latter is thought to be largely a change in recording practices rather than a real increase in crime – see the Accuracy of statistics section in the Introduction for further detail.

While there are signs of increasing upward pressures in certain offence types in the police recorded crime data (for example shoplifting showed a 4% increase, and theft from the person increased by 7%) continuing falls in high volume crime types such as other theft offences (largely made up of theft of unattended items) and criminal damage mean that overall levels of crime have continued to fall.

There were 3.1 million victim-based crimes recorded by the police in the year ending September 20132. To put this volume into context, this is equivalent to 56 recorded offences per 1,000 population (though this should not be read as a victimisation rate as some offences will be reported by the same victim). The volume of victim-based crime was down 4% compared with the previous year (Table 4a and 4b). This overall grouping accounts for 84% of all crime recorded by the police in the year to September 2013, and, due to the high volume of crimes in the category, it has accounted for most of the fall in overall police recorded crime seen since 2002/03 (Table 4b).

Eleven per cent of the police recorded crimes that are not victim-based offences are classified as ‘Other crimes against society’3. Crimes in this category showed a decrease of 7% compared with the previous year, with 394,405 offences recorded. Trends in such offences tend to reflect changes in police workload and activity rather than levels of criminality. For example, the marked increases shown in these offences between 2004/05 and 2008/09 coincided with the priority placed on increasing the numbers of offenders brought to justice associated with Public Service Agreement targets in place at that time. This is particularly evident in the trend for drug offences (for which the increase was mainly driven by the introduction of cannabis warnings) and public order offences (see the ‘Other crimes against society’ section for further details).

In addition, there were 201,035 fraud offences in the year ending September 2013. These were recorded by the police and Action Fraud in England and Wales (Table 20a). This represents an increase of 34% compared with the previous year and an increase of 183% compared with 2007/08.

This increase should be seen in the context of the move to centralised recording of fraud to Action Fraud. Caution should be applied when comparing latest fraud data with earlier years (see the ‘Fraud’ section for more details).

Figure 3 shows the time-series for both the CSEW and police recorded offences. CSEW crime rose steadily from 1981, before peaking in 1995. After peaking, the CSEW showed marked falls up until the 2004/05 survey. Since then, the overall decline has continued but at a slower rate, with some years showing smaller, non-statistically significant year-on-year changes, and others with larger and statistically significant changes.

Police recorded crime also increased during most of the 1980s, reaching a peak in 1992, and then fell each year until 1998/99 when the expanded coverage and changes in the Home Office Counting Rules resulted in an increase in recorded offences; see Chapter 3 of the User Guide for more information. This was followed by the introduction of the National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS) in April 2002 which led to a further rise in recording in 2002/03 and 2003/04. Following the bedding in of these changes, the direction of trends for police recorded crime and the CSEW have generally tracked each other well since 2003/04, with both data series showing declines in crime over this period, with the exception of some short term fluctuations in recent years.

Figure 3: Trends in police recorded crime and CSEW, 1981 to year ending September 2013 (Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics)

Figure 3: Trends in police recorded crime and CSEW, 1981 to year ending September 2013 (Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics)

Notes:

  1. Sources: Crime Survey for England and Wales - Office for National Statistics, Police recorded crime - Home Office
  2. The data on this chart refer to different time periods: a) 1981 to 1999 refer to crimes experienced in the calendar year (January to December); b) from 2001/02 onwards the estimates relate to crimes experienced in the 12 months before interview, based on interviews carried out in that financial year (April to March); and c) the last two data points relate to interviews carried out in the rolling 12 month periods for the latest available two years (October to September).

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It is possible to make a broad comparison between the CSEW and police recorded crime. This is done by calculating a ratio for a comparable sub-set of broadly equivalent crimes for the latest survey year. This analysis has shown that between 2002/03 and 2006/07 the reduction in the volume of crime measured by the two series was similar, but between 2006/07 and 2011/12 the gap between the two series widened with the police recorded crime series showing a faster rate of reduction (33% for the police compared with 17% for the CSEW). For more details see the ‘Analysis of Variation in Crime trends’ methodological note. The ratio between police recorded crime and CSEW for the comparable basket of crimes for the 2012/13 survey year is shown in Section 4.2 of the User Guide4. This analysis shows that the movements in both series in the 2012/13 survey year were similar.

Table 3a: All CSEW crime (1,2) - number of incidents

England and Wales

Adults aged 16 and over/households
Interviews from:  
Jan-95 to Dec-95 Apr-02 to Mar-03 Apr-07 to Mar-08 Oct-11 to Sep-12 Oct-12 to Sep-133
Total CSEW incidents (thousands) 19,109 12,260 10,002 8,873 8,020
Unweighted base 16,337 36,450 46,903 39,421 35,829

Table notes:

  1. Source: Crime Survey for England and Wales, Office for National Statistics

  2. For detailed footnotes and further years see Appendix tables A1, A2, A3.

  3. Base sizes for data years ending September are smaller than previous years, due to sample size reductions introduced in April 2012.

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Table 3b: All CSEW crime (1,2) - percentage change and statistical significance

England and Wales

Adults aged 16 and over/households
Oct 2012 to Sep 2013 compared with:  
Jan-95 to Dec-95 Apr-02 to Mar-03 Apr-07 to Mar-08 Oct-11 to Sep-12
Percentage change and significance3
Total CSEW incidents -58 * -35 * -20 * -10 *

Table notes:

  1. Source: Crime Survey for England and Wales, Office for National Statistics

  2. For detailed footnotes and further years see Appendix tables A1, A2, A3.

  3. Statistically significant change at the 5% level is indicated by an asterisk.

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Table 4a: Total police recorded crime (1,2,3) - number and rate of offences (Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics)

England and Wales

Apr-02 to Mar-03 Apr-07 to Mar-08 Oct-11 to Sep-12 Oct-12 to Sep-13
Total recorded crime - all offences including fraud 5,974,960 4,952,277 3,838,279 3,725,281
Victim-based crime4 5,403,458 4,338,486 3,263,463 3,129,841
Other crimes against society 387,821 542,656 424,832 394,405
Total fraud offences 183,681 71,135 149,984 201,035
Rate per 1,000 population
Total recorded crime - all offences including fraud 114 92 69 66
Victim-based crime4 103 80 59 56
Other crimes against society 7 10 8 7
Total fraud offences 4 1 3 4

Table notes:

  1. Source: Police recorded crime, Home Office

  2. Police recorded crime statistics based on data from all 44 forces in England and Wales (including the British Transport Police).

  3. For detailed footnotes and further years see Appendix table A4.

  4. Victim-based crime now includes all 'making off without payment' offences recorded since 2002/03. Making off without payment was previously included within the fraud offence group, but following a change in the classification for 2013/14, this change has been applied to previous years of data to give a consistent time series.

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Table 4b: Total police recorded crime (1,2,3) - percentage change (Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics)

England and Wales

Percentage change
  Oct 2012 to Sep 2013 compared with:
Apr-02 to Mar-03 Apr-07 to Mar-08 Oct-11 to Sep-12
Total recorded crime - all offences including fraud -38 -25 -3
Victim-based crime4 -42 -28 -4
Other crimes against society 2 -27 -7
Total fraud offences 9 183 34

Table notes:

  1. Source: Police recorded crime, Home Office

  2. Police recorded crime statistics based on data from all 44 forces in England and Wales (including the British Transport Police).

  3. For detailed footnotes and further years see Appendix table A4.

  4. Victim-based crime now includes all 'making off without payment' offences recorded since 2002/03. Making off without payment was previously included within the fraud offence group, but following a change in the classification for 2013/14, this change has been applied to previous years of data to give a consistent time series.

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Notes for Overall level of crime

  1. Police recorded crime includes all notifiable offences, which are those that could possibly be tried by a jury (these include some less serious offences, such as minor theft that would not usually be dealt with in this way) plus a few additional closely related offences, such as assault without injury.

  2. Victim-based crimes are those offences with a specific identifiable victim. These cover the police recorded crime categories of violence against the person, sexual offences, robbery, theft offences, and criminal damage and arson.

  3. ‘Other crimes against society’ cover offences without a direct victim, and includes drug offences, possession of weapon offences, public order offences and miscellaneous crimes against society.

  4. The Crime Survey year runs from April to March. The 2012/13 survey year is April 2012 to March 2013.

Violence

Violent crime covers a wide range of offences, from minor assaults, such as pushing and shoving that result in no physical harm through to serious incidents of wounding and murder. The CSEW and recorded police statistics capture slightly different information in their respective “violent” crime categories. For example, robbery, an offence in which violence or the threat of violence is used during a theft (or attempted theft), is not included in the police recorded violent crime statistics (it is reported as a separate stand-alone category - see the ‘Robbery’ section), but is currently included within CSEW violence. Following recent consultation with users this will change, and robbery will in future be presented as a stand-alone category for both the CSEW and police recorded crime1.

Violent crime in the CSEW is referred to as “Violence”, and includes wounding, assault, and robbery. There are additional breakdowns for violence with and without injury, as well as on the offender-victim relationship. Violent crime in police recorded data is referred to as “Violence against the person” and includes homicide, violence with injury, and violence without injury.

The CSEW showed a fall of 13% in the levels of violence based on interviews in the year ending September 2013 compared with the previous year (Tables 5a and 5b). Figure 4 shows that this continues the overall decline seen over the last decade, with the CSEW showing a number of annual decreases (though not always large enough to be statistically significant year on year) with only a few small annual increases. The cumulative effect of these changes is statistically significant over the medium-term with the estimated number of violent incidents having decreased 24% since the 2007/08 survey (Table 5b). Latest CSEW estimates show there were 1.7 million violent incidents in England and Wales, which is the lowest number recorded since the survey began in 1981 (Figure 4). Violent incidents constitute 21% of all CSEW crime in the latest survey, making them an important driver of overall CSEW trends.

Figure 4 also shows steep increases in the overall number of CSEW violent incidents from the early 1980s to 1995. This has been followed by a period of decreases, with the latest estimate being 60% lower than the number of incidents estimated in 1995 (Table 5b). To put these figures in context, around 2 in every 100 adults were a victim of violent crime in the last year, compared with around 5 in 100 adults in the 1995 survey (Table 5a). However, it is important to note that victimisation rates vary considerably across the population and by geographic area. Such variations in victimisation rates are further explored in ONS thematic reports, which are published annually2.

The CSEW violence offences can be broken down further into ‘Violence with injury’ and ‘Violence without injury’. Both subcategories showed apparent decreases, violence with injury down 13% and violence without injury down 14% in the year ending September 2013. Although the apparent falls were not statistically significant, the cumulative effect is a statistically significant fall in the overall violence category.

Figure 4: Trends in CSEW violence, 1981 to year ending September 2013

Figure 4: Trends in CSEW violence, 1981 to year ending September 2013

Notes:

  1. Source: Crime Survey for England and Wales, Office for National Statistics
  2. The data on this chart refer to different time periods: a) 1981 to 1999 refer to crimes experienced in the calendar year (January to December); b) from 2001/02 onwards the estimates relate to crimes experienced in the 12 months before interview, based on interviews carried out in that financial year (April to March); and c) the last two data points relate to interview carried out in the rolling 12 month periods for the latest available two years (Oct to Sep).

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Estimates of violence against 10 to 15 year olds as measured by the CSEW can be found in the section ‘Crime experienced by children aged 10 to 15’.

Table 5a: CSEW violence (1,2) - number, rate and percentage of incidents

England and Wales

Adults aged 16 and over
  Interviews from:        
Jan-95 to Dec-95 Apr-02 to Mar-03 Apr-07 to Mar-08 Oct-11 to Sep-12 Oct-12 to Sep-133
Number of incidents Thousands
All CSEW violence 4,176 2,714 2,201 1,943 1,681
with injury 2,408 1,441 1,063 1,048 916
without injury 1,768 1,273 1,137 895 766
Incidence rate per 1,000 adults
All CSEW violence 103 64 50 43 37
with injury 59 34 24 23 20
without injury 43 30 26 20 17
Percentage of adults who were victims once or more Percentage
All CSEW violence 5.3 3.9 3.2 2.7 2.3
with injury 3.2 2.2 1.7 1.5 1.3
without injury 2.5 2.0 1.7 1.3 1.1
Unweighted base - personal crime 16,337 36,450 46,903 39,421 35,829

Table notes:

  1. Source: Crime Survey for England and Wales, Office for National Statistics

  2. For detailed footnotes and further years see Appendix tables A1, A2, A3.

  3. Base sizes for data years ending September are smaller than previous years, due to sample size reductions introduced in April 2012.

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Table 5b: CSEW violence (1,2) - percentage change and statistical significance

England and Wales

Adults aged 16 and over
 Oct 2012 to Sep 2013 compared with:
  Jan-95 to Dec-95 Apr-02 to Mar-03 Apr-07 to Mar-08 Oct-11 to Sep-12
Number of incidents Percentage change and significance3
All CSEW violence -60 * -38 * -24 * -13 *
with injury -62 * -36 * -14 * -13
without injury -57 * -40 * -33 * -14
Incidence rate per 1,000 adults
All CSEW violence -64 * -43 * -27 * -14 *
with injury -66 * -41 * -17 * -13
without injury -61 * -44 * -35 * -15
Percentage of adults who were victims once or more Percentage point change and significance3,4
All CSEW violence -3.0 * -1.6 * -0.9 * -0.4 *
with injury -1.9 * -0.9 * -0.4 * -0.2 *
without injury -1.4 * -0.9 * -0.6 * -0.2 *

Table notes:

  1. Source: Crime Survey for England and Wales, Office for National Statistics

  2. For detailed footnotes and further years see Appendix tables A1, A2, A3.

  3. Statistically significant change at the 5% level is indicated by an asterisk.

  4. The percentage point change presented in the tables may differ from subtraction of the two percentages due to rounding.

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The overall level of violence against the person recorded by the police in the year ending September 2013 showed a 2% fall compared with the previous year (Tables 6a and 6b)3. These latest figures have fallen by 19% from 2007/08 and by 15% from 2002/03. The rates for violence against the person have dropped from 14 recorded offences per 1,000 population in 2007/08 to 11 recorded offences per 1,000 population in the year ending September 2013 (Table 6a).

In the year ending September 2013 the police recorded 542 homicides, 11 fewer than in the previous year (Table 6a)4. This drop should be viewed in context; the number of homicides increased from around 300 per year in the early 1960s to over 800 per year in the early years of this century, and increased at a faster rate than population growth. Since then however, the number of homicides recorded each year has fallen year on year to the current level, while the population of England and Wales has continued to grow5. In 2003/04, there were 17 homicides per 1,000,000 population6. The latest data show homicide rates have reduced considerably since then with 10 homicides per 1,000,000 population recorded during the year to September 2013.

As with homicide, the other two categories of police recorded offences for violence against the person have also declined over the past decade. ‘Violence with injury’ has dropped by 16% from 2002/03, while ‘Violence without injury’ has declined by 13%. For more detailed information on trends and the circumstances of violence against the person, see ‘Focus on: Violent crime and Sexual Offences7.

Table 6a: Police recorded violence against the person (1,2,3) - number and rate of offences (Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics)

England and Wales

Apr-02 to Mar-03 Apr-07 to Mar-08 Oct-11 to Sep-12 Oct-12 to Sep-13
Violence against the person offences 708,742 748,779 613,398 604,174
Homicide4,5 1,047 775 553 542
Violence against the person - with injury6 372,243 452,247 322,330 311,483
Violence against the person - without injury7 335,452 295,757 290,515 292,149
Violence against the person rate per 1,000 population 14 14 11 11

Table notes:

  1. Source: Police recorded crime, Home Office

  2. Police recorded crime statistics based on data from all 44 forces in England and Wales (including the British Transport Police).

  3. For detailed footnotes and further years see Appendix table A4.

  4. Includes the offences of murder, manslaughter, corporate manslaughter and infanticide.

  5. The homicide figure for 2002/03 includes 172 homicides attributed to Harold Shipman in previous years but coming to light in the official inquiry in 2002.

  6. Includes attempted murder, intentional destruction of viable unborn child, causing death by dangerous driving/careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs, more serious wounding or other act endangering life (including grievous bodily harm with and without intent), causing death by aggravated vehicle taking and less serious wounding offences.

  7. Includes threat or conspiracy to murder, harassment, other offences against children and assault without injury (formerly common assault where there is no injury).

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Table 6b: Police recorded violence against the person (1,2,3) - percentage change (Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics)

England and Wales

Percentage change
Oct 2012 to Sep 2013 compared with:
Apr-02 to Mar-03 Apr-07 to Mar-08 Oct-11 to Sep-12
Violence against the person offences -15 -19 -2
Homicide4,5 -48 -30 -2
Violence against the person - with injury6 -16 -31 -3
Violence against the person - without injury7 -13 -1 1

Table notes:

  1. Source: Police recorded crime, Home Office

  2. Police recorded crime statistics based on data from all 44 forces in England and Wales (including the British Transport Police).

  3. For detailed footnotes and further years see Appendix table A4.

  4. Includes the offences of murder, manslaughter, corporate manslaughter and infanticide.

  5. The homicide figure for 2002/03 includes 172 homicides attributed to Harold Shipman in previous years but coming to light in the official inquiry in 2002.

  6. Includes threat or conspiracy to murder, harassment, possession of weapons, other offences against children and assault without injury (formerly common assault where there is no injury).

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Separate research conducted by the Violence and Society Research Group at Cardiff University (Sivarajasingam et al., 2012) also indicates a fall in the level of violent crime. Findings from their annual survey, covering a sample of hospital emergency departments and walk-in centres in England and Wales, showed an overall decrease of 14% in serious violence-related attendances in 2012 compared with 2011. This pattern is consistent with the reductions in violent crime recorded by the police (see figure 1 of that publication). In addition, NHS data on assault admissions to hospitals in England show that for the 12 months to the end of March 2013 there were 32,979 hospital admissions for assault, a reduction of 15% compared with figures for the preceding 12 months8.

Notes for Violence

  1. For more details see the ‘Future plans and changes to statistical reporting’ section or the ONS crime statistics publication ‘Future Dissemination Strategy – Summary of Responses’.

  2. For more information on violent crime see Focus on: Violent Crime and Sexual Offences.
  3. Police recorded violence against the person does not include sexual offences or robbery. Refer to Chapter 5 of the User Guide for more information regarding coverage of crime measures.
  4. Homicide includes the offences of murder, manslaughter, corporate manslaughter and infanticide. Figures from the Homicide Index for the time period April 2011 to March 2012, which takes into account further police investigations and court outcomes, were published on 7 February 2013. Figures for the 2012/13 Homicide Index are scheduled to be published on 13 February 2014.
  5. Figures are taken from the Homicide Index as they are less likely to be affected by changes in police recording practice made in 1998 and 2002 so it is possible to examine longer-term trends from police recorded crime.
  6. While most rates of recorded crime are given per 1,000 population, due to the relatively low number of offences recorded and to aid interpretation homicide rates are given per 1,000,000 population.
  7. Focus on: Violent Crime and Sexual Offences 2012/13 will be published in February 2014.
  8. Based on the latest available Hospital Episode Statistics

Robbery

Robbery is an offence in which force or the threat of force is used either during or immediately prior to a theft or attempted theft. The small number of robbery victims interviewed in any one year means that CSEW estimates are prone to fluctuation. The number of robberies recorded by the police therefore provides a more robust indication of trends than the CSEW, although not all robberies will be reported to the police. For CSEW estimates of robbery see Appendix tables A1, A2 and A3 (432.5 Kb Excel sheet) .

Robbery is a relatively low volume offence accounting for fewer than 2% of all police recorded crime in the year ending September 2013. These offences are concentrated in a small number of metropolitan forces with over half of all offences recorded in London, and a further 18% in the Greater Manchester, West Midlands and West Yorkshire police force areas combined ( Table P1 (152.5 Kb Excel sheet) ).

Figure 5: Trends in police recorded robberies, 2002/03 to year ending September 2013 (Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics)

Figure 5: Trends in police recorded robberies, 2002/03 to year ending September 2013 (Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics)

Notes:

  1. Source: Police recorded crime, Home Office

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The latest figures show police recorded robberies decreased by 10% in the year ending September 2013 compared with the previous year (Tables 7a and 7b). With the exception of a notable rise in the number of robberies in 2005/06 and 2006/07 there has been a general downward trend between 2002/03 and 2010/11 in England and Wales. The latest figure shows the number of robbery offences falling to 61,836, the lowest level since the introduction of the NCRS in 2002/03 (Figure 5).

In the year ending September 2013, 90% of robberies recorded by the police were of personal property. The police recorded 55,817 of these offences, down 11% compared with the previous year. Robbery of business property (which makes up the remaining 10% of total robbery offences) fell by 4% compared with the previous year continuing the recent downward trend. In the year ending September 2013, one in five robberies (20%) recorded by the police involved a knife or other sharp instrument, a similar level to the 21% recorded the previous year (Table 9).

Table 7a: Police recorded robbery (1,2,3) - number and rate of offences (Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics) (1,2,3)

England and Wales

  Apr-02 to Mar-03 Apr-07 to Mar-08 Oct-11 to Sep-12 Oct-12 to Sep-13
Robbery offences 110,271 84,773 68,807 61,836
     Robbery of business property 11,066 9,173 6,289 6,019
     Robbery of personal property 99,205 75,600 62,518 55,817
Robbery rate per 1,000 population 2 2 1 1

Table notes:

  1. Source: Police recorded crime, Home Office

  2. Police recorded crime statistics based on data from all 44 forces in England and Wales (including the British Transport Police).

  3. For detailed footnotes and further years see Appendix table A4.

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Table 7b: Police recorded robbery (1,2,3) - percentage change (Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics)

England and Wales

Percentage change
Oct 2012 to Sep 2013 compared with:
  Apr-02 to Mar-03 Apr-07 to Mar-08 Oct-11 to Sep-12
Robbery offences -44 -27 -10
     Robbery of business property -46 -34 -4
     Robbery of personal property -44 -26 -11

Table notes:

  1. Source: Police recorded crime, Home Office

  2. Police recorded crime statistics based on data from all 44 forces in England and Wales (including the British Transport Police).

  3. For detailed footnotes and further years see Appendix table A4.

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The geographic concentration of robbery offences means that trends across England and Wales tend to reflect what is happening in a small number of metropolitan areas, and the Metropolitan Police force area in particular. The latest figures for the Metropolitan Police force area shows that the number of robberies for the year ending September 2013 was 31,986, a decrease of 13% from the previous year ( Tables P1-P3 (152.5 Kb Excel sheet) ). This follows increases in robberies in the Metropolitan Police force area in the previous two years (specifically, 8% in year ending March 2012 and 7% in the year ending March 2011). Falls in robbery offences were also seen in other large metropolitan police force areas ( Table P2 (152.5 Kb Excel sheet) ), most notably West Yorkshire (down by 13% to 1,962 offences), West Midlands (down by 10% to 5,404 offences) and Greater Manchester (down by 4% to 3,846 offences).

Sexual offences

It is difficult to obtain reliable information on the volume of sexual offences as it is known that a high proportion of offences are not reported to the police and changes in recorded figures may reflect changes in reporting or recording rates rather than actual victimisation. For these reasons, caution should be used when interpreting trends in these offences (for more information see ‘An Overview of Sexual Offending in England and Wales’ or ‘Focus on: Violent Crime and Sexual Offences’).

As described in previous quarterly bulletins, tables summarising sexual offences now separate recorded crimes into categories of ‘Rape’ and ‘Other sexual offences’. The full breakdown of sexual offences can be found in Appendix table A4 (432.5 Kb Excel sheet) .

Police recorded crime figures showed an increase of 17% in all sexual offences for the year ending September 2013 compared with the previous year (up from 50,807 to 59,466; Table 8a). This is the highest level recorded since 2005/06, when 60,287 offences were recorded. Evidence suggests some of this increase is likely to be a result of Operation Yewtree, connected to the Jimmy Savile inquiry (see below for more information). Both rape and other sexual offences showed a 17% increase and the number of rape offences (18,293) is now at the highest level since the NCRS was introduced in 2002/03.

The large rise in rapes and other sexual offences is in large part due to increases in offences involving children (see Appendix table A4 (432.5 Kb Excel sheet) ). There were 12,788 sexual offences involving a child under the age of 13 in the year to September 2013, an increase of 39% on the same period twelve months earlier1. This is the highest reported total for these offence categories since the introduction of the NCRS in 2002/03. The latest police recorded crime data for the year ending September 2013 show that:

  • The number of rapes and sexual assaults involving a female child under the age of 13 increased 29% in September 2013 when compared to twelve months previous, to 7,496 offences.

  • The number of rapes and sexual assaults involving a male child under the age of 13 increased by 72% compared with the previous year, to 2,678 offences.

  • The number of ‘Sexual activity involving a child under 13’ increased 42% in September 2013, to 2,614 offences.

Similar increases are reflected in a recent media release by the National Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), which reported that police recorded offences relating to sexual abuse on children under the age of 11 increased 16% in the 2012/13 financial year when compared with the previous year2. The NSPCC attributed some of this increase to the impact of Operation Yewtree.

Figure 6: Trends in police recorded sexual offences, 2002/03 to year ending September 2013 (Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics)

Figure 6: Trends in police recorded sexual offences, 2002/03 to year ending September 2013 (Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics)

Notes:

  1. Source: Police recorded crime, Home Office
  2. The Sexual Offences Act 2003, introduced in May 2004, altered the definition and coverage of sexual offences.

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As already mentioned, evidence suggests the increases in recorded sexual offences over the past year are partly a result of the Operation Yewtree investigation, initiated in October 2012, and connected to the Jimmy Savile inquiry. This was not only as a direct consequence of the crimes reported as part of Operation Yewtree, but also as a wider “Yewtree effect”, whereby there is increased willingness on the part of the victims to come forward and report other sexual offences that are not directly connected to Yewtree.

The rise in the number of rape offences recorded by the police in the year to September 2013 follows further increases in the number of police recorded rape offences over the past five years – there have been increases of 44% since 2007/08 (Table 8b), and 49% from 2002/03 (Figure 6).

As well as a greater proportion of victims coming forward to report crimes, such increases should be seen in a wider context. On 1 April 2010, extra guidance for the recording of sexual offences was incorporated into the Home Office Counting Rules and this reflected good practice guidance issued prior by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).

Concerns were raised in 2012 around the extent to which police recording practices for sexual offences were in line with the overall counting rules for recorded crime, as well as the consistency of recording practice between police forces (see HMIC and HMCPSI, 2012).

Further concerns about the accuracy of police recorded crime data for sexual offences were expressed more recently in evidence presented to the ongoing PASC inquiry3. In response to this the Metropolitan Police have announced that they are investigating reports of recording inconsistencies with regards rapes and sexual offences4. This investigation will review processes around the overall recording of sexual offences, and more specifically allegations that victims have had their reports of rapes and sexual assaults inappropriately ‘no-crimed’ (when a claim is reviewed and subsequently deemed not a crime)5.

Further insight into the “Yewtree effect” can be provided by looking at the Home Office Data Hub, a tool where some police forces supply more detailed recorded crime data, including information such as when an offence took place, in addition to when it was recorded by police. Analysis using these data is limited to just over half of the 43 territorial police forces of England and Wales, and is subject to continuing quality assurance. It notably excludes the Metropolitan Police Service, which accounts for nearly a fifth of all sexual offences recorded by the police in the year to September 2013. As a result, these data are only able to provide a partial and provisional picture.

This partial picture suggests that the increase in sexual offences in the last twelve months is driven by a rise in the number of both “historical” and “current” sexual offences reported to the police.

Figure 7 illustrates that the increase in sexual offences across forces for which data was available in the year to September 2013 can be explained by an increase of:

  • 11% in current offences (occurring in the past twelve months), accounting for over a third (36%) of the latest increase in overall sexual offences;

  • 122% in historic offences occurring more than twenty years ago, also accounting for over a third (36%) of the increase in overall sexual offences;

  • 35% in offences occurring between 1 and 20 years ago, accounting for over a quarter (27%) of the increase in overall sexual offences.

Figure 7: Recorded sexual offences in selected police force areas, by time of offence, year ending September 2013 (Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics)

Figure 7: Recorded sexual offences in selected police force areas, by time of offence, year ending September 2013 (Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics)

Notes:

  1. Source: Police recorded crime, Home Office Data Hub

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Table 8a: Police recorded sexual offences (1,2,3) - number and rate of offences (Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics)

England and Wales

Apr-02 to Mar-03 Apr-07 to Mar-08 Oct-11 to Sep-12 Oct-12 to Sep-13
Sexual offences 56,652 52,166 50,807 59,466
Rape 12,295 12,673 15,587 18,293
Other sexual offences 44,357 39,493 35,220 41,173
Sexual offences rate per 1,000 population 1 1 1 1

Table notes:

  1. Source: Police recorded crime, Home Office

  2. Police recorded crime statistics based on data from all 44 forces in England and Wales (including the British Transport Police).

  3. For detailed footnotes and further years see Appendix table A4.

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Table 8b: Police recorded sexual offences (1,2,3) - percentage change (Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics)

England and Wales

Percentage change
  Oct 2012 to Sep 2013 compared with:
  Apr-02 to Mar-03 Apr-07 to Mar-08 Oct-11 to Sep-12
Sexual offences 5 14 17
     Rape 49 44 17
     Other sexual offences -7 4 17

Table notes:

  1. Source: Police recorded crime, Home Office

  2. Police recorded crime statistics based on data from all 44 forces in England and Wales (including the British Transport Police).

  3. For detailed footnotes and further years see Appendix table A4.

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Due to the small number of sexual offences identified in the main CSEW crime count, estimates of the volume of incidents are too unreliable to report. Since 2004/05, the CSEW has included a self-completion questionnaire module on intimate violence which does provide a measure of the proportion of people who have been victims of sexual offences and supplements the information presented here6. Detailed findings from this module for the previous year (year ending March 2012) are available in the ‘Focus on: Violent Crime and Sexual Offences 2011/12’. Figures for the current year (2012/13) will be available in the next ‘Focus on: Violent Crime and Sexual Offences’ release which is due to be published in February 2014.

Notes for Sexual offences

  1. The offences combined to make this figure include ‘Rape of a female child under 13’, ‘Rape of a male child under 13’, ‘Sexual assault on a male child under 13’, ‘Sexual assault on a female child under 13’, and ‘Sexual activity involving a child under 13’.

  2. NSPCC data used responses from 41 police forces. The media release was published on 13 January 2014.

  3. See the transcript for the PASC hearing on Crime Statistics, 19 November 2013

  4. The investigation was announced at a recent Home Affairs Select Committee hearing.

  5. See the transcript for the PASC hearing on Crime Statistics, 8 January 2014

  6. See Chapter 5 of the User Guide for more information regarding intimate violence.

Offences involving knives and sharp instruments

Some of the more serious types of offence in the recorded crime data (violent, robbery and sexual offences) can be broken down by whether or not a knife or sharp instrument was involved1. Only data for the last two years are compared in this section because up until April 2010 there were known inconsistencies in recording practices between forces2.

In the year ending September 2013, the police recorded 25,933 offences involving a knife or sharp instrument, a 9% decrease compared with the previous year (28,518, Table 9). Analysis of selected individual offence groups shows that the fall in knife or sharp instrument offences is largely due to reductions in two large offence categories; the numbers of robbery offences involving a knife or sharp instrument (down 15% compared with the previous year); and actual bodily harm and grievous bodily harm offences (down 4%); a pattern that is consistent with the overall reductions in these offences3.

The number of homicides involving a knife or sharp instrument decreased to 191 offences in the year ending September 2013 compared with the previous year (down by 7% from 205 offences).  The number of rape offences involving knives or sharp instruments recorded by the police increased 11%, from 205 offences to 227. Similarly, the number of sexual assaults involving a knife or sharp instrument increased by 5% in the year ending September 2013 compared with the previous year (up from 83 offences to 87 offences). However, the relatively low number of attempted murders, homicides, and rapes and sexual assaults that involve the use of a knife or sharp instrument means percentage changes should be interpreted with caution.

Table 9: Number and proportion of selected violent and sexual offences involving a knife or sharp instrument recorded by the police (1,2,3) (Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics)

England and Wales

Numbers and percentages (4)
Selected offence type   Number of selected offences involving a knife or sharp instrument   % change year ending September 2012 to year September 2013   Proportion of selected offences involving a knife or sharp instrument
  Oct-11 to Sep-12 Oct-12 to Sep-13     Oct-11 to Sep-12 Oct-12 to Sep-13
Attempted murder                      235                    223   -5   51 48
Threats to kill                  1,105                1,241   12   15 16
Actual bodily harm & grievous bodily harm5                11,974              11,492   -4   4 4
Robbery                14,711              12,472   -15   21 20
Rape                      205                    227   11   1 1
Sexual assault6                        83                      87   5   0 0
Total selected offences   28,313 25,742   -9   7 6
Homicide7   205 191   -7   39 36
Total selected offences including homicide   28,518 25,933   -9   7 6

Table notes:

  1. Source: Police recorded crime, Home Office

  2. Police recorded crime statistics based on data from all 44 forces in England and Wales (including the British Transport Police).

  3. Police recorded knife and sharp instrument offences data are submitted via an additional special collection. Proportions of offences involving the use of a knife or sharp instrument presented in this table are calculated based on figures submitted in this special collection. Other offences exist that are not shown in this table that may include the use of a knife or sharp instrument.

  4. Three police forces include unbroken bottle and glass offences in their returns, which are outside the scope of this special collection. As such, data for these forces are not directly comparable to data for other forces. The three forces are: Surrey, Sussex and British Transport Police.

  5. Changes to offence codes in April 2012 mean the category of actual bodily harm and grievous bodily harm is not directly comparable over the time period. However, these changes are not expected to affect the totals presented in this table. See Table A4 for more details.

  6. Sexual assault includes indecent assault on a male/female and sexual assault on a male/female (all ages).

  7. Homicide offences are those currently recorded by the police as at 2 December 2013 and are subject to revision as cases are dealt with by the police and by the courts, or as further information becomes available. They include the offences of murder, manslaughter, infantacide and, as of 2012/13, corporate manslaughter.

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Of the violent offences selected in Table 9, approximately 6% involved a knife or sharp instrument in the year ending September 2013. This was a similar proportion to that for the previous year for the same grouping (7%). Over a third of homicides (36%) and just under half of attempted murders (48%) involved a knife or sharp instrument, showing decreases from twelve months ago (from 39% and 51% respectively).

Further analysis on offences involving knives and sharp instruments will be published in the ‘Focus on: Violent Crime and Sexual Offences, 2012/13’. This is scheduled for publication on 13 February 2014.

An additional source of information about incidents involving knives and sharp instruments is provided by NHS hospital admission statistics4. Admissions for assault with a sharp instrument peaked at 5,720 in 2006/07. Admissions have declined since that year, and in the year ending March 2013 there were 3,833 admissions, a 15% decrease on the previous year. Admissions for assault with a sharp instrument in 2012/13 were the lowest since 2002/035.

Notes for Offences involving knives and sharp instruments

  1. A sharp instrument is any object that pierces the skin (or in the case of a threat, is capable of piercing the skin), for example a broken bottle.
  2. West Midlands Police force did include unbroken bottle and glass offences in their statistics, but now exclude these offences in line with other forces.
  3. Changes to offence codes in April 2012 mean the individual categories of actual bodily harm and grievous bodily harm are not directly comparable over the time period. However, these changes are not expected to affect the totals of actual bodily harm and grievous bodily harm offences involving a knife or sharp instrument. See Appendix table A4 for more details.
  4. It should be noted that while it is a requirement to record every hospital admission, completing the field for external cause is not always done. They also do not include any figures from Wales.
  5. Year ending March 2013 provisional figures are available in the latest Hospital Episode Statistics; a graph based on financial years is available in the latest ‘Focus on: Violent Crime and Sexual Offences’.

Offences involving firearms

Similar to the breakdown of offences involving knives or sharp instruments, provisional statistics for the year ending September 2013 are available for police recorded crimes involving the use of firearms other than air weapons (referred to as firearm offences)1. Firearms are taken to be involved in an offence if they are fired, used as a blunt instrument against a person, or used as a threat. For detailed information on trends and the circumstances of firearm offences recorded in 2011/12 see ‘Focus on: Violent Crime and Sexual Offences’. This analysis will be updated in the next scheduled ‘Focus on’ publication, which will be published on 13 February 2014.

Figures for the year ending September 2013 show 5,075 firearm offences were recorded in England and Wales, a 5% decrease compared with the previous year (5,354, Tables 10a and 10b).

Figure 8 shows the trend from 2002/03 and demonstrates that since 2005/06 there has been a substantial decrease in the number of firearm offences recorded by the police. The volume of such offences has fallen by almost a half (49%) since 2007/08 (Table 10b), and by more than half (54%) since its peak in 2005/06 (Figure 8). This reduction in firearm offences is, in percentage terms, a larger reduction than that seen in overall violent crime.

Figure 8: Trends in police recorded crimes involving firearms other than air weapons, 2002/03 to year ending September 2013 (Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics)

Figure 8: Trends in police recorded crimes involving firearms other than air weapons, 2002/03 to year ending September 2013 (Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics)

Notes:

  1. Source: Police recorded crime, Home Office

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Table 10a: Police recorded firearm offences (1,2) - numbers (Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics)

England and Wales

  Apr-02 to Mar-03 Apr-07 to Mar-08 Oct-11 to Sep-12 Oct-12 to Sep-13
Firearm offences 10,248 9,865 5,354 5,075

Table notes:

  1. Source: Police recorded crime, Home Office

  2. Police recorded crime statistics based on data from all 43 forces in England and Wales (excluding the British Transport Police).

  3. Firearms data are provisional. Excludes offences involving the use of air weapons and offences recorded by British Transport Police. Includes crimes recorded by police where a firearm has been fired, used as a blunt instrument against a person or used as a threat.

  4. For detailed footnotes and futher years see Appendix table A4.

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Table 10b: Police recorded firearm offences (1,2) - percentage change (Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics)

England and Wales

Percentage change
  Oct 2012 to Sep 2013 compared with:  
Apr-02 to Mar-03 Apr-07 to Mar-08 Oct-11 to Sep-12
Firearm offences -50 -49 -5

Table notes:

  1. Source: Police recorded crime, Home Office

  2. Firearms data are provisional. Excludes offences involving the use of air weapons and offences recorded by British Transport Police. Includes crimes recorded by police where a firearm has been fired, used as a blunt instrument against a person or used as a threat.

  3. For detailed footnotes and further years see Appendix table A4.

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Notes for Offences involving firearms

  1. Firearms data are provisional figures supplied by the police as at 4 December 2013. Final figures for firearm offences for the time period April 2011 to March 2012 were published on 7 February 2013.

Theft offences

The CSEW and police recorded crime both measure various theft offences. Both series cover burglary, vehicle-related theft, theft from the person, and bicycle theft. The CSEW also covers theft of property from outside people’s homes (for example, garden furniture and tools) and theft of unattended property. Additionally, offences for shoplifting and other theft, which is predominately made up of theft of unattended items, are recorded by the police1.

There are substantial overlaps between theft offences in the two data series; however, the CSEW shows a larger volume as it includes incidents not reported to the police. Police recorded theft is broader covering a wider variety of offences and victims; for example, police recorded theft includes theft against commercial victims and offences of handling stolen goods whereas the survey does not. Theft offences recorded by the police do not include robbery as these are recorded as a separate offence (see ‘Robbery’ section), whereas, for the CSEW, the figure for ‘All acquisitive crime’ does include robbery incidents.

Incidents of theft experienced by 10 to 15 year olds can be found in the ‘Crime experienced by children aged 10 to 15’ section of this bulletin.

Theft offences (acquisitive crime) accounted for 61% of all incidents measured by the CSEW (an estimated 4.9 million incidents) and approximately half of all police recorded crime (1.9 million offences) in the year ending September 2013.

The long-term trend in CSEW theft reflects the long-term trend in total CSEW crime, having shown steady increases from 1981 when the survey started, peaking in 1995, followed by declines since that year.

As theft offences make up half of all police recorded crime, it is important in driving the overall trend. Since 2002/03, the number of theft offences has shown year-on-year decreases and is 45% lower in volume in the year ending September 2013 than in 2002/03 (Figure 9). The latest figures show a 4% decrease compared with the previous year ( Appendix table A4 (432.5 Kb Excel sheet) ).

Figure 9: Trends in police recorded theft offences, 2002/03 to year ending September 2013 (Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics)

Figure 9: Trends in police recorded theft offences, 2002/03 to year ending September 2013 (Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics)

Notes:

  1. Source: Police recorded crime, Home Office

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Further analysis on theft offences, based on the 2012/13 CSEW, was published on 28 November 2013 as part of ‘Focus on: Property Crime, 2012/13’. More detail of possible hypotheses for the fall in property crimes can be found in ‘Trends in Crime: a Short Story, 2011/12’ published on 19 July 2012.

The next few sections discuss the different types of theft offences in more detail; burglary, vehicle-related thefts and other theft of property.

Notes for Theft offences

  1. For more information see Section 5.2 of the User Guide.

Theft offences - Burglary

Despite some fluctuations from year to year, the underlying trend in domestic burglary (which involves unauthorised entry into a private dwelling) has remained fairly flat in the CSEW since 2004/05 (Figure 10). The apparent 3% fall in the year ending September 2013 compared with the previous year was not statistically significant. It is too early to say whether this apparent decrease shows an emerging downward trend, though estimates for the year ending September 2013 are 11% lower than those in the 2007/08 CSEW (Table 11b).

Figure 10: Trends in CSEW domestic burglary, 1981 to year ending September 2013

Figure 10: Trends in CSEW domestic burglary, 1981 to year ending September 2013

Notes:

  1. Source: Crime Survey for England and Wales, Office for National Statistics
  2. The data on this chart refer to different time periods: a) 1981 to 1999 refer to crimes experienced in the calendar year (January to December); b) from 2001/02 onwards the estimates relate to crimes experienced in the 12 months before interview, based on interviews carried out in that financial year (April to March); and c) the last two data points relate to interview carried out in the rolling 12 month periods for the latest available two years (Oct to Sep).

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CSEW burglary follows a similar pattern to that seen for overall crime, peaking in the mid 1990s survey and then falling steeply until the 2004/05 survey. Estimates from the year ending September 2013 are 64% lower than the 1995 survey. This reduction is reflected in the percentage of households that had been victims of burglary in the last year, with around 2 in 100 households being victims in the year ending September 2013 survey compared with around 6 in 100 households in the 1995 survey. Therefore, households are now around three times less likely to be a victim of burglary than in 1995 (Table 11a).

Table 11a: CSEW burglary (1,2) - number, rate and percentage of incidents

England and Wales

Households
Interviews from:
Jan-95 to Dec-95 Apr-02 to Mar-03 Apr-07 to Mar-08 Oct-11 to Sep-12 Oct-12 to Sep-133
Thousands
Number of burglary incidents 1,735 963 713 654 632
Burglary incidence rate per 1,000 households 84 44 31 28 26
Percentage
Percentage of households that were victims of burglary once or more 6.4 3.4 2.4 2.2 2.1
Unweighted base - household crime 16,310 36,395 46,765 39,389 35,791

Table notes:

  1. Source: Crime Survey for England and Wales, Office for National Statistics

  2. For detailed footnotes and further years see Appendix tables A1, A2, A3.

  3. Base sizes for data years ending September are smaller than previous years, due to sample size reductions introduced in April 2012.

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Table 11b: CSEW burglary (1,2) - percentage change and statistical significance

England and Wales

Households
Oct 2012 to Sep 2013 compared with:
Jan-95 to Dec-95 Apr-02 to Mar-03 Apr-07 to Mar-08 Oct-11 to Sep-12
Percentage change and significance3
Number of burglary incidents -64 * -34 * -11 * -3
Burglary incidence rate per 1,000 households -68 * -40 * -16 * -4
Percentage point change and significance3,4
Percentage of households that were victims of burglary once or more -4.3 * -1.3 * -0.3 * - 0.1

Table notes:

  1. Source: Crime Survey for England and Wales, Office for National Statistics

  2. For detailed footnotes and further years see Appendix tables A1, A2, A3.

  3. Statistically significant change at the 5% level is indicated by an asterisk.

  4. The percentage point change presented in the tables may differ from subtraction of the two percentages due to rounding.

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The police recorded crime statistics measure both domestic burglaries (for example those against inhabited dwellings) and non-domestic burglaries (those against businesses). When compared with the previous year, domestic burglary decreased by 5% while non-domestic burglary decreased by 4% in the year ending September 2013 (Table 12a and 12b)1. The latest level of burglary recorded by the police is around half the level recorded in 2002/03.

Table 12a: Police recorded burglary (1,2,3) - number and rate of offences (Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics)

England and Wales

Apr-02 to Mar-03 Apr-07 to Mar-08 Oct-11 to Sep-12 Oct-12 to Sep-13
Burglary offences 890,099 583,710 474,290 453,428
Domestic burglary 437,583 280,696 233,549 222,291
Non-domestic burglary 452,516 303,014 240,741 231,137
Burglary rate per 1,000 population 17 11 9 8

Table notes:

  1. Source: Police recorded crime, Home Office

  2. Police recorded crime statistics based on data from all 44 forces in England and Wales (including the British Transport Police).

  3. For detailed footnotes and further years see Appendix table A4.

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Table 12b: Police recorded burglary (1,2,3) - percentage change (Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics)

England and Wales

Percentage change
Oct 2012 to Sep 2013 compared with:  
Apr-02 to Mar-03 Apr-07 to Mar-08 Oct-11 to Sep-12
Burglary offences -49 -22 -4
Domestic burglary -49 -21 -5
Non-domestic burglary -49 -24 -4

Table notes:

  1. Source: Police recorded crime, Home Office

  2. Police recorded crime statistics based on data from all 44 forces in England and Wales (including the British Transport Police).

  3. For detailed footnotes and further years see Appendix table A4.

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Notes for Theft offences - Burglary

  1. Non-domestic burglary covers burglary in a building other than a dwelling. See Section 5.2 of the User Guide for more details regarding this crime type.

Theft offences - Vehicle

The CSEW covers offences against vehicles owned by any member of the household interviewed (including company cars). Estimates of CSEW vehicle-related theft for the year ending September 2013 showed an apparent decrease of 4% compared with the previous year, though this was not statistically significant (Table 13a and 13b)1.

Over the longer term, the CSEW indicates a consistent downward trend in levels of vehicle-related theft, with the latest estimates being 29% lower than those observed in the 2007/08 survey, and 56% lower than the 2002/03 survey. As shown in Figure 11, the rate of reduction in vehicle offences since the mid-1990s has been striking, and a widely accepted theory is that this is in part due to improvements in vehicle security2. The latest estimates indicate that a vehicle-owning household was around four times less likely to become a victim of vehicle-related theft in the year ending September 2013 survey than in 1995, with around 5 in 100 vehicle-owning households being victims in the year ending September 2013 survey compared with around 20 in 100 households in the 1995 survey (Table 13a).

 

Figure 11: Trends in CSEW vehicle-related theft, 1981 to year ending September 2013

Figure 11: Trends in CSEW vehicle-related theft, 1981 to year ending September 2013

Notes:

  1. Source: Crime Survey for England and Wales, Office for National Statistics
  2. The data on this chart refer to different time periods: a) 1981 to 1999 refer to crimes experienced in the calendar year (January to December); b) from 2001/02 onwards the estimates relate to crimes experienced in the 12 months before interview, based on interviews carried out in that financial year (April to March); and c) the last two data points relate to interview carried out in the rolling 12 month periods for the latest available two years (Oct to Sep).

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Table 13a: CSEW vehicle offences (1,2) - number, rate and percentage of incidents

England and Wales

Vehicle-owning households
Interviews from:
Jan-95 to Dec-95 Apr-02 to Mar-03 Apr-07 to Mar-08 Oct-11 to Sep-12 Oct-12 to Sep-133
Thousands
Number of vehicle-related theft incidents 4,266 2,340 1,457 1,086 1,040
Vehicle-related theft incidence rate per 1,000 vehicle-owning households 280 140 81 59 56
Percentage
Percentage of vehicle-owning households that were victims of vehicle-related theft once or more 19.7 10.8 6.5 5.0 4.6
Unweighted base - vehicle owners 11,721 28,106 37,487 31,045 28,191

Table notes:

  1. Source: Crime Survey for England and Wales, Office for National Statistics

  2. For detailed footnotes and further years see Appendix tables A1, A2, A3.

  3. Base sizes for data years ending September are smaller than previous years, due to sample size reductions introduced in April 2012.

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Table 13b: CSEW vehicle offences (1,2) - percentage change and statistical significance

England and Wales

Vehicle-owning households
Oct 2012 to Sep 2013 compared with:
Jan-95 to Dec-95 Apr-02 to Mar-03 Apr-07 to Mar-08 Oct-11 to Sep-12
Percentage change and significance3
Number of vehicle-related theft incidents -76 * -56 * -29 * -4
Vehicle-related theft incidence rate per 1,000 vehicle-owning households -80 * -60 * -31 * -6
Percentage point change and significance3,4
Percentage of vehicle-owning households that were victims of vehicle-related theft once or more -15.1 * -6.2 * -1.9 * -0.4 *

Table notes:

  1. Source: Crime Survey for England and Wales, Office for National Statistics

  2. For detailed footnotes and further years see Appendix tables A1, A2, A3.

  3. Statistically significant change at the 5% level is indicated by an asterisk.

  4. The percentage point change presented in the tables may differ from subtraction of the two percentages due to rounding.

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The police recorded crime category of vehicle offences covers both private and commercial vehicles. This showed a fall of 3% in the year ending September 2013 compared with the previous year (Tables 14a and 14b). This follows substantial decreases in this offence group with falls of 42% compared with 2007/08 and 64% compared with 2002/03. These trends are similar to those found in the CSEW (see above). The most recent data show that all three categories of police recorded vehicles offences have continued to fall, including theft of a motor vehicle, which fell by 9% in the year ending September 2013 compared with the previous year (Table 14b).

The reductions in vehicle-related theft indicated by the CSEW and police recorded crime is in contrast to the number of motor vehicles licensed in Great Britain, which has increased by 39% from 25.4 million in 1995 to 35.2 million on 30 September 2013 (Vehicle Licensing Statistics, 2013 3).

Table 14a: Police recorded vehicle offences (1,2,3) - number and rate of offences (Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics)

England and Wales

Apr-02 to Mar-03 Apr-07 to Mar-08 Oct-11 to Sep-12 Oct-12 to Sep-13
Vehicle offences4 1,074,659 656,453 395,719 382,461
Theft of a motor vehicle 318,507 170,038 84,320 76,819
Theft from a vehicle 663,679 432,412 287,882 284,180
Vehicle interference 92,473 54,003 23,517 21,462
Vehicle offences rate per 1,000 population 21 12 7 7

Table notes:

  1. Source: Police recorded crime, Home Office

  2. Police recorded crime statistics based on data from all 44 forces in England and Wales (including the British Transport Police).

  3. For detailed footnotes and further years see Appendix table A4.

  4. Includes theft of motor vehicle, theft from a vehicle, aggravated vehicle taking and interfering with a motor vehicle.

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Table 14b: Police recorded vehicle offences (1,2,3) - percentage change (Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics)

England and Wales

Percentage change
  Oct 2012 to Sep 2013 compared with:
  Apr-02 to Mar-03 Apr-07 to Mar-08 Oct-11 to Sep-12
Vehicle offences4 -64 -42 -3
     Theft of a motor vehicle -76 -55 -9
     Theft from a vehicle -57 -34 -1
     Vehicle interference -77 -60 -9

Table notes:

  1. Source: Police recorded crime, Home Office
  2. Police recorded crime statistics based on data from all 44 forces in England and Wales (including the British Transport Police).
  3. For detailed footnotes and further years see Appendix table A4.
  4. Includes theft of motor vehicle, theft from a vehicle, aggravated vehicle taking and interfering with a motor vehicle.

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Notes for Theft offences - Vehicle

  1. See Section 5.2 of the User Guide for more details regarding this crime type.
  2. See ‘Trends in Crime: a Short Story, 2011/12
  3. Vehicle Licensing Statistics quarter 3, 2013 are based on the total number of licensed vehicles (including both private and commercial vehicles) in England, Scotland and Wales taken from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) database.

Theft offences - Other theft of property

In addition to burglary and vehicle-related thefts, the CSEW and police recorded crime both measure ‘Other theft of property’, although they cover slightly different offences. In the CSEW this comprises: theft from the person; other theft of personal property; bicycle theft; and other household theft. In police recorded crime there are categories for: theft from the person; bicycle theft; shoplifting; and all other theft offences. There are further offence breakdowns available for all other theft offences – they are listed in Appendix table A4 (432.5 Kb Excel sheet) .

Since April 2013, a new police recorded offence of ‘Making off without payment’ has been included within ‘All other theft offences’. These offences were previously included under fraud offences. Making off without payment covers offences in which the offender intentionally fails to pay for goods or services, for example by driving away from a petrol station, or running off from a taxi without paying. A back series has been published for the first time this quarter and is available in Appendix table A4 (432.5 Kb Excel sheet) . For more information about these changes, see the ‘Recent changes in presentation’ section in the Introduction.

Theft from the person – CSEW and police recorded crime

Theft from the person involves offences where there is theft of property while it is being carried by, or on the person of, the victim (for example pick-pocketing). Unlike robbery, these offences do not involve violence or threats to the victim. In the CSEW, the majority of these thefts (88% in the year ending September 2013) are made up of stealth thefts where, at the time the offence was committed, the victim was unaware that the items were being stolen (for more information see Appendix table A1 (432.5 Kb Excel sheet) ).

The CSEW showed no statistically significant change in theft from the person based on interviews in the year ending September 2013 compared with the previous year (the apparent 2% increase was not statistically significant; Tables 15a and 15b). Estimates of the volume of theft from the person offences are low and subject to fluctuations from year to year in the survey. The CSEW shows an unusually high estimate measured by the 2008/09 survey when there was a significant increase, followed by a significant decrease in 2009/10 (Figure 12). Other than this, CSEW estimates of theft from the person have remained fairly flat.

The police recorded crime category theft from the person accounts for around 3% of overall police recorded crime. Latest police recorded crime figures show a 7% increase in the year ending September 2013 compared with the previous year (Tables 16a and 16b). To put the latest figures in context, this is 9% higher than in 2007/08 and 23% higher than in 2008/09, the lowest point in the series ( Appendix table A4 (432.5 Kb Excel sheet) ). Despite these recent increases, the falls in theft from the person occurring between 2002/03 and 2008/09 mean that the number of offences recorded in the year ending September 2013 was 26% lower than in 2002/03.

Further analysis of theft from the person figures by police force area shows a mixed picture, with some forces showing increases for this offence and others decreases. As with robbery, theft from the person offences are concentrated in the metropolitan areas, with 55% occurring in the Metropolitan Police, Greater Manchester, and West Yorkshire force areas ( Tables P1-P3 (152.5 Kb Excel sheet) ). All three recorded increases in the year to September 2013 when compared to the same period a year earlier (8% in the Metropolitan force area, 19% in Greater Manchester, and 2% in West Yorkshire). In addition, the British Transport Police (which make up approximately 8% of all theft from the person offences) recorded an increase of 16%. These cover crimes that occur on railways and on railway platforms and stations.

Other household theft – CSEW

This offence group consists of items stolen from outside the victim’s home as well as burglaries from non-connected buildings, such as sheds, and thefts in the victim’s dwelling by someone entitled to be there, for example a workman1. Around half of these incidents involve theft of garden furniture or household items/furniture taken from outside the dwelling; these thefts are generally opportunistic in nature.

Based on CSEW interviews in the year ending September 2013, it was estimated that there were around 1.1 million incidents of other household theft (Tables 15a and 15b), making up 14% of all CSEW crime. There was a statistically significant decrease of 19% in other household theft in the year ending September 2013 compared with the previous year. This comes after another statistically significant decrease in the year to June 2013. While these decreases may represent a change in recent trends, which have shown several years of non-statistically significant increases, it is important to note the survey can fluctuate in the short term and it is too early at this stage to conclude that this most recent fall is the start of a downward trend.

Despite the recent decreases, the latest estimates remain 6% higher than the 2007/08 survey. When considering the longer term context however, due to previously recorded decreases the latest figures are 51% lower than in the 1995 survey (Figure 12).

Figure 12: Trends in CSEW theft from the person and other household theft, 1981 to year ending September 2013

Figure 12: Trends in CSEW theft from the person and other household theft, 1981 to year ending September 2013

Notes:

  1. Source: Crime Survey for England and Wales, Office for National Statistics
  2. The data on this chart refer to different time periods: a) 1981 to 1999 refer to crimes experienced in the calendar year (January to December); b) from 2001/02 onwards the estimates relate to crimes experienced in the 12 months before interview, based on interviews carried out in that financial year (April to March); and c) the last two data points relate to interview carried out in the rolling 12 month periods for the latest available two years (October to September).

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Other theft of personal property – CSEW

Other theft of personal property offences are those which involve items stolen from victims while away from the home but not being carried on the person (such as theft of unattended property in pubs, restaurants, entertainment venues or workplaces). The CSEW estimates that there were almost 950,000 incidents of theft of personal property in the survey year ending September 2013. This was an apparent 7% decrease compared with the previous survey year, though was not statistically significant ( Appendix table A1 (432.5 Kb Excel sheet) ). The underlying trend has been fairly flat in recent years – since 2004/05 estimates have fluctuated slightly but generally stayed around 1.0 million offences. Looking at the longer term trend, theft of other personal property saw marked declines from the mid 1990s and levels remain at half of the 1995 CSEW.

Bicycle theft – CSEW and police recorded crime

There was a statistically significant 15% decrease in bicycle theft incidents, based on CSEW interviews in the year ending September 2013 compared with the previous year (Tables 15a and 15b). This is one of the lower volume CSEW offence groups and can show large fluctuations from year to year. Appendix table A1 (432.5 Kb Excel sheet) suggests that, like other household theft, these incidents showed a marked decline between 1995 and the 2001/02 survey, with both small increases and decreases thereafter. The variability means that trends have to be interpreted with caution. The year ending September 2013 CSEW indicates that around 3% of bicycle owning households were victims of bicycle theft in the previous 12 months, similar to findings from the 2011/12 survey.

Bicycle thefts recorded by the police decreased by 7% in the year ending September 2013 compared with the previous year (Tables 16a and 16b). This latest figure suggests an emerging downward trend after a period of relatively stable levels. The current level (97,545 offences) is one of the lowest since 2002/03 when the NCRS was first introduced.

Shoplifting – police recorded crime

Shoplifting accounted for 8% of all police recorded crime in the year ending September 2013. The police recorded 313,693 shoplifting offences in this period, a 4% increase compared with the previous year. The volume of shoplifting recorded this year is the highest recorded since 2008/09, when there were 320,739 reported offences. The trend in shoplifting recorded by the police is different from that seen for other theft offences. While most theft offences saw steady declines in the number of crimes recorded by the police over much of the last decade, levels of recorded shoplifting showed comparatively little change over this time. The trend in shoplifting actually shows a slight rise over this period, with the latest figures up 1% from 2002/03, and up 8% compared to 2007/08.

Twenty-nine of the 43 territorial police force areas reported an increase in shoplifting in the year to September 2013 (Table P2). West Midlands, Merseyside, and West Yorkshire police force areas, which together account for 13% of all shoplifting offences, all recorded large increases (18% for West Midlands, 14% for Merseyside, and 12% for West Yorkshire). The Metropolitan Police, which recorded 12% of all shoplifting offences, showed a 1% decrease.

Most incidents of shoplifting do not come to the attention of the police. As such, recorded crime figures for this type of offence are highly dependent on whether the businesses report the incidents to the police.

The 2012 Commercial Victimisation Survey (CVS) provides a measure of shoplifting (referred to in the survey as ‘theft by customers’) which includes crimes not reported to the police. The 2012 survey estimated that there were 4.1 million incidents of theft by customers in the wholesale and retail sector. This estimate indicates that there have been substantial falls in shoplifting over the last decade, with the number of incidents of customer theft having fallen from 12.2 million in the 2002 CVS. The headline results from the 2013 CVS will be published in February 2014.

The low rate of reporting to the police presents challenges in interpreting trends in police recorded shoplifting. There are a number of factors that should be considered, and it is difficult to determine with any certainty the extent to which these have contributed to the latest increase. One factor could be due to a real increase in the number of shoplifting offences being committed. This is supported by findings from a recently published British Retail Consortium survey, which has shown increased levels of shoplifting.

 

Shoplifting is an offence which is less prone to mis-recording by the police as the majority come to their attention when an offender has been apprehended or there is, for example, CCTV evidence against a suspect. This, and the additional evidence from the BRC survey, suggests that this is likely to be a real increase in shoplifting.

However, there are other possible factors which may have a bearing. These are:

  • an increase in the proportion of shoplifting incidents that come to the attention of police. Retailers may adopt new strategies or approaches to deal with shoplifters (such as one announced recently by the Cooperative supermarket chain), which in turn means the police record more shoplifting offences2; and,

  • changes to police recording practices. While there is no specific evidence to suggest there has been a recent change in the recording of shoplifting offences, it is not possible to rule this out at this stage.

All other theft offences – police recorded crime

The remainder of police recorded theft offences fall into the category ’All other theft offences‘, which include offences such as blackmail, theft by an employee, and the newly reclassified ‘Making off without payment’. There is also an ‘Other theft’ offence category, which comprises mostly of the theft of unattended items (including both personal property such as wallets or phones, and property from outside peoples’ homes, such as garden furniture). Other thefts accounts for approximately 77% of the overall ’All other theft offences‘ category.

The most recent police recorded data showed a 9% decrease in all other theft offences, with 528,448 offences in the year to September 2013 compared with 580,687 in the previous twelve months.

This decrease is in contrast with a recent upward trend in all other theft offences between 2009/10 and 2011/12. Prior to that, there was a longer downward trend between 2003/04 and 2009/10 (Figure 13).

The offence ‘Making off without payment’ has recently been moved from within fraud (where it was not separately identifiable from within that category) to ‘All other the theft offences’, where it is now identifiable. In order to provide a consistent back series of data back to 2002/03, ONS requested an ad hoc collection from all forces. This is available for the first time in this quarter and can be found in Appendix table A4 (432.5 Kb Excel sheet) .

In the year to September 2013 the police recorded 49,653 making off without payment offences, which was an 8% decrease compared to the previous twelve months. The numbers provided by police forces as part of the back series show a steep decline in this particular offence, with the latest numbers 62% lower than those in 2002/03 (129,125).

Figure 13: Trends in police recorded all other theft offences, 2002/03 to year ending September 2013 (Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics)

Figure 13: Trends in police recorded all other theft offences, 2002/03 to year ending September 2013 (Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics)

Notes:

  1. Source: Police recorded crime, Home Office

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As well as theft of unattended items, the police recorded ‘Other theft’ sub-category also includes crimes against organisations which are not covered by the CSEW, such as theft of metal or industrial equipment. It is not possible to identify these specific types of theft in centrally held police recorded crime data. Other theft offences saw a 10% decrease for the year ending September 2013 compared with the previous year ( Appendix table A4 (432.5 Kb Excel sheet) ). This follows a 13% increase between 2009/10 and 2011/12. This is likely to have been caused in part by a surge in metal theft over this period, which corresponds with a spike in metal prices. Evidence suggests that such offences are decreasing and should be seen in the context of new metal theft legislation. The legislation came into force in May 2013, which increased fines for existing offences under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964, and introduced a new offence for dealers of paying for scrap metal in cash. For further information on metal theft, see the recently published Home Office publication Metal theft, England and Wales, financial year ending March 2013.

Table 15a: CSEW other theft of property (1,2) - number, rate and percentage of incidents

England and Wales

Adults aged 16 and over/households
  Interviews from:
  Jan-95 to Dec-95 Apr-02 to Mar-03 Apr-07 to Mar-08 Oct-11 to Sep-12 Oct-12 to Sep-133
Number of incidents Thousands      
Theft from the person 680 690 581 551 563
Other theft of personal property 2,069 1,344 988 1,017 949
Other household theft 2,223 1,346 1,030 1,357 1,096
Bicycle theft 660 355 429 468 399
Incidence rate per 1,000 adults/households          
Theft from the person 17 16 13 12 12
Other theft of personal property 51 32 23 22 21
Other household theft 107 61 45 57 46
Bicycle theft: bicycle-owning households 71 38 42 38 32
Percentage of adults/households who were victims once or more Percentage      
Theft from the person 1.6 1.5 1.2 1.1 1.1
Other theft of personal property 4.1 2.8 2.0 2.0 1.8
Unweighted base - personal crime 16,337 36,450 46,903 39,421 35,829
Other household theft 7.6 4.7 3.5 4.4 3.6
Unweighted base - household crime 16,310 36,395 46,765 39,389 35,791
Bicycle theft: bicycle-owning households 6.1 3.4 3.7 3.4 2.9
Unweighted base - bicycle owners 6,882 15,567 20,779 18,861 17,127

Table notes:

  1. Source: Crime Survey for England and Wales, Office for National Statistics
  2. For detailed footnotes and further years see Appendix tables A1, A2, A3.
  3. Base sizes for data years ending September are smaller than previous years, due to sample size reductions introduced in April 2012.

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Table 15b: CSEW other theft of property (1,2) - percentage change and statistical significance

England and Wales

Adults aged 16 and over/households
  Oct 2012 to Sep 2013 compared with:
  Jan-95 to Dec-95 Apr-02 to Mar-03 Apr-07 to Mar-08 Oct-11 to Sep-12
Number of incidents Percentage change and significance3  
Theft from the person -17 * -18 * -3   2  
Other theft of personal property -54 * -29 * -4   -7  
Other household theft -51 * -19 * 6   -19 *
Bicycle theft -39 * 12   -7   -15 *
Incidence rate per 1,000 adults/households                
Theft from the person -26 * -25 * -7   1  
Other theft of personal property -59 * -35 * -8   -7  
Other household theft -57 * -26 * 1   -20 *
Bicycle theft: bicycle-owning households -55 * -18 * -25 * -17 *
Percentage of adults/households who were victims once or more Percentage point change and significance3,4
Theft from the person -0.5 * -0.4 * -0.1   0.0  
Other theft of personal property -2.3 * -0.9 * -0.1   -0.1  
Other household theft -4.0 * -1.0 * 0.2   -0.8 *
Bicycle theft: bicycle-owning households -3.2 * -0.5 * -0.8 * -0.5 *

Table notes:

  1. Source: Crime Survey for England and Wales, Office for National Statistics
  2. For detailed footnotes and further years see Appendix tables A1, A2, A3.
  3. The percentage point change presented in the tables may differ from subtraction of the two percentages due to rounding.
  4. Statistically significant change at the 5% level is indicated by an asterisk.

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Table 16a: Police recorded other theft (1,2,3) - number and rate of offences (Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics)

England and Wales

  Apr-02 to Mar-03 Apr-07 to Mar-08 Oct-11 to Sep-12 Oct-12 to Sep-13
Theft from the person 148,488 101,660 103,452 110,408
Bicycle theft 97,755 104,000 105,352 97,545
Shoplifting 310,881 290,653 302,245 313,693
All other theft offences4,5 891,439 686,254 580,687 528,448
Rate per 1,000 population        
Theft from the person 3 2 2 2
Bicycle theft 2 2 2 2
Shoplifting 6 5 5 6
All other theft offences4,5 17 13 10 9

Table notes:

  1. Source: Police recorded crime, Home Office
  2. Police recorded crime statistics based on data from all 44 forces in England and Wales (including the British Transport Police).
  3. For detailed footnotes and further years see Appendix table A4.
  4. All other theft offences now includes all 'making off without payment' offences recorded since 2002/03. Making off without payment was previously included within the fraud offence group, but following a change in the classification for 2013/14, this change has been applied to previous years of data to give a consistent time series.
  5. For full range of offences included in all other theft see Appendix table A4

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Table 16b: Police recorded other theft (1,2,3) - percentage change (Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics)

England and Wales

Percentage change
Oct 2012 to Sep 2013 compared with:
  Apr-02 to Mar-03 Apr-07 to Mar-08 Oct-11 to Sep-12
Theft from the person -26 9 7
Bicycle theft 0 -6 -7
Shoplifting 1 8 4
All other theft offences4,5 -41 -23 -9

Table notes:

  1. Source: Police recorded crime, Home Office
  2. Police recorded crime statistics based on data from all 44 forces in England and Wales (including the British Transport Police).
  3. For detailed footnotes and further years see Appendix table A4.
  4. All other theft offences now includes all 'making off without payment' offences recorded since 2002/03. Making off without payment was previously included within the fraud offence group, but following a change in the classification for 2013/14, this change has been applied to previous years of data to give a consistent time series.
  5. For full range of offences included in all other theft see Appendix table A4

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Notes for Theft offences - Other theft of property

  1. For more details on the offences that constitute CSEW other household theft see Section 5.2 and Appendix 2 of the User Guide.
  2. As reported in the Nottingham Post, 18 December 2013.

Vandalism and criminal damage

Based on CSEW interviews in the year ending September 2013, there were around 1.7 million incidents of vandalism of personal and household property, which was a statistically significant decrease of 8% from the previous year (Tables 17a and 17b). Figure 14 shows the long-term trend for vandalism, which has followed a slightly different pattern compared with most other CSEW crime groups. Vandalism peaked in 1993 with 3.4 million incidents followed by a series of modest falls (when compared with other CSEW offence types) until the 2003/04 survey (2.4 million offences). There was then a short upward trend until the 2006/07 CSEW (2.9 million offences), after which there were consistent falls to current levels, which is at the lowest level since the survey began.

Tables 17a and 17b highlight the recent downward trend in this offence group. There are statistically significant decreases when comparing the current figure with those both 5 and 10 years ago. This trend is also reflected in the decline in percentage of households victimised. Five in every 100 households were victims of vandalism in the year ending September 2013 compared with around 10 in every 100 households in 1995.

Figure 14: Trends in CSEW vandalism, 1981 to year ending September 2013

Figure 14: Trends in CSEW vandalism, 1981 to year ending September 2013

Notes:

  1. Source: Crime Survey for England and Wales, Office for National Statistics
  2. The data on this chart refer to different time periods: a) 1981 to 1999 refer to crimes experienced in the calendar year (January to December); b) from 2001/02 onwards the estimates relate to crimes experienced in the 12 months before interview, based on interviews carried out in that financial year (April to March); and c) the last two data points relate to interview carried out in the rolling 12 month periods for the latest available two years (Oct to Sep).

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Table 17a: CSEW vandalism (1,2) - number, rate and percentage of incidents

England and Wales

Households
  Interviews from:
  Jan-95 to Dec-95 Apr-02 to Mar-03 Apr-07 to Mar-08 Oct-11 to Sep-12 Oct-12 to Sep-133
  Thousands      
Number of vandalism incidents 3,300 2,508 2,604 1,797 1,658
Vandalism incidence rate per 1,000 households 159 114 114 76 69
  Percentage      
Percentage of households that were victims of vandalism once or more 10.1 7.3 7.3 5.2 4.8
Unweighted base - household crime 16,310 36,395 46,765 39,389 35,791

Table notes:

  1.  Source: Crime Survey for England and Wales, Office for National Statistics
  2. For detailed footnotes and further years see Appendix tables A1, A2, A3.
  3. Base sizes for data years ending September are smaller than previous years, due to sample size reductions introduced in April 2012.

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Table 17b: CSEW vandalism(1,2) - percentage change and statistical significance

England and Wales

Households
  Oct 2012 to Sep 2013 compared with:
  Jan-95 to Dec-95 Apr-02 to Mar-03 Apr-07 to Mar-08 Oct-11 to Sep-12
  Percentage change and significance3  
Number of vandalism incidents -50 * -34 * -36 * -8 *
Vandalism incidence rate per 1,000 households -56 * -40 * -39 * -9 *
  Percentage point change and significance3,4
Percentage of households that were victims of vandalism once or more -5.3 * -2.5 * -2.5 * -0.4 *

Table notes:

  1. Source: Crime Survey for England and Wales, Office for National Statistics
  2. For detailed footnotes and further years see Appendix tables A1, A2, A3.
  3. Statistically significant change at the 5% level is indicated by an asterisk.
  4. The percentage point change presented in the tables may differ from subtraction of the two percentages due to rounding.

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Police recorded crime also shows reductions in the similar offence group of criminal damage and arson (although this also includes victims beyond the household population, like businesses)1. In the year ending September 2013 there were 518,382 offences recorded, a fall of 9% from the previous year (Tables 18a and 18b). Reductions were seen across all types of criminal damage recorded by the police ( Appendix table A4 (432.5 Kb Excel sheet) )2. Criminal damage and arson offences have seen a marked fall since 2006/07 whereas previously the pattern had been fairly flat since 2002/03.

Table 18a: Police recorded criminal damage and arson offences (1,2,3) - number and rate of offences (Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics)

England and Wales

  Apr-02 to Mar-03 Apr-07 to Mar-08 Oct-11 to Sep-12 Oct-12 to Sep-13
Criminal damage and arson 1,114,472 1,030,038 568,706 518,382
     Arson 53,552 39,327 22,082 19,396
     Criminal damage 1,060,920 990,711 546,624 498,986
Criminal damage and arson rate per 1,000 population 21 19 10 9

Table notes:

  1. Source: Police recorded crime, Home Office
  2. Police recorded crime statistics based on data from all 44 forces in England and Wales (including the British Transport Police).
  3. For detailed footnotes and further years see Appendix table A4.

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Table 18b: Police recorded criminal damage and arson offences (1,2,3) - percentage change (Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics)

England and Wales

Percentage change
  Oct 2012 to Sep 2013 compared with:
  Apr-02 to Mar-03 Apr-07 to Mar-08 Oct-11 to Sep-12
Criminal damage and arson -53 -50 -9
     Arson -64 -51 -12
     Criminal damage -53 -50 -9

Table notes:

  1. Source: Police recorded crime, Home Office
  2. Police recorded crime statistics based on data from all 44 forces in England and Wales (including the British Transport Police).
  3. For detailed footnotes and further years see Appendix table A4.

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Notes for Vandalism and criminal damage

  1. See Section 5.3 of the User Guide for more details regarding this crime type.
  2. Some individual offences within criminal damage are not comparable between the years ending June 2012 and June 2013 owing to offence classification changes introduced in April 2012, however comparisons for total criminal damage are valid.

Other crimes against society

Other crimes against society are offences recorded by the police which do not generally have a specific identifiable victim. They generally make up around 11% of all police recorded crime. Trends in such offences tend to reflect changes in police workload and activity rather than in levels of criminality. For example, in recent years the increases in recorded drug offences are thought to have been influenced by proactive policing in this area.

In recent bulletins there has been some reclassification of the offences in other crimes against society. The following categories were developed:

  • Drug offences

  • Public order offences

  • Possession of weapons offences

  • Miscellaneous crimes against society.

In addition, ‘Making, supplying or possessing articles for use in fraud’ has been moved from the fraud category into miscellaneous crimes against society.

These changes were all in place for the previous bulletin, and as a result there are no further changes in this publication.

Other crimes against society showed a decrease of 7% compared with the previous year, with 394,405 offences recorded in the year ending September 2013 (Tables 19a and 19b). Figure 15 shows the trend over time and how each separate offence category contributes to the overall figure.

Since 2002/03, the number of other crimes against society increased year-on year until it peaked in 2007/08 (542,656 offences). Since 2007/08 the number of offences against society recorded have decreased year-on-year, mainly driven by the decreases in public order offences. The marked increases in the recording of these offences between 2004/05 and 2008/09 coincide with the priority placed on increasing the numbers of offences brought to justice associated with the previous Government’s 2005-2008 Public Service Agreement targets. This is particularly reflected in the trend for drug offences and public order offences (see relevant sections below for further details). Meanwhile, the number of possession of weapon offences has been declining over time.

Figure 15: Trends in police recorded other crimes against society, 2002/03 to the year ending September 2013 (Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics)

Figure 15: Trends in police recorded other crimes against society, 2002/03 to the year ending September 2013 (Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics)

Notes:

  1. Source: Police recorded crime, Home Office

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Drug offences

The police recorded 200,640 drug offences in the year ending September 2013, a decrease of 8% compared with the previous year. Figure 15 shows the trend over time for drug offences, where the number of drug offences steadily rose from 2004/05 until 2008/09 (peaking at 243,536 offences). They remained fairly consistent at around 230,000 each year until 2011/12, when they began to fall. Despite recent decreases, the number of drug offences recorded in the year ending September 2013 remains 40% higher than the number recorded in 2002/03 (Table 19b).

As mentioned previously the increases in the recording of drug offences between 2004/05 and 2008/09 coincide with the priority placed Public Service Agreement targets, illustrating how proactive policing can increase crimes against society. The number of drug offences recorded by the police is heavily dependent on police activities and priorities. As a result, changes over time may reflect changes in the policing of drug crime rather than real changes in its incidence. For example, in the past decade the police have been granted powers to:

  • issue warnings on the street (rather than at a police station) for possession of cannabis offences (April 2004); and

  • issue penalty notices for disorder for possession of cannabis (January 2009).

In the year ending September 2013, possession of cannabis offences accounted for 68% of all police recorded drug offences.

The CSEW can also be used to investigate trends in drug use. Relevant figures from the survey are compiled and published in an annual report by the Home Office, ‘Drug Misuse: findings from the 2012 to 2013’. The general trends from the 2012/13 report show that overall illicit drug use among 16 to 59 year olds is flat – and as a result does not support the increase reported in the police recorded drug offences. For further information from the CSEW on drug use see the Drug Misuse publication.

Public order offences

Public order offences cover circumstances where an offender is behaving in a way that causes or would be likely to cause alarm, distress or disorder. This would generally not include offences where physical violence is used (or attempted) against a victim, though it may include some offences where injury is threatened. The offences in this category include public fear, alarm or distress, which has been moved from the violence offence group. Affray is also included in this offence group, a person is guilty of affray if he/she uses or threatens unlawful violence towards another and his/her conduct is such as would cause a “person of reasonable firmness” present at the scene to fear for his/her personal safety.

The latest figures (130,866 offences) show an 8% decrease in public order offences compared with the previous year. The majority of this category (60% in the year ending September 2013) is made up of public fear, alarm or distress offences, which recorded an 11% decrease compared with the previous year. Public order offences rose from 2002/03 and peaked in 2006/07 and have since shown year-on year decreases. Like drug offences, these are likely to be affected by policing activity and the scale of the decrease shown for this offence may reflect police activity rather than decreasing levels of criminality.

Possession of weapons offences

This offence category covers only weapons possession offences, where there is no direct victim. Any circumstances in which a weapon has been used against a victim would be covered by other relevant victim-based offences (for example, actual bodily harm).

The police recorded 20,114 possession of weapon offences in the year ending September 2013, a decrease of 5% compared with the previous year. The number of possession of weapons offences rose from 2002/03 and peaked in 2004/05 and has since shown year-on-year decreases.

Miscellaneous crimes against society

Miscellaneous crimes against society comprises a variety of offences (see Appendix table A4 (432.5 Kb Excel sheet) for a full list). The largest volume offences include: handling stolen goods, threat to commit criminal damage and perverting the course of justice. The police recorded 42,785 offences in the year ending September 2013, a decrease of 2% compared with the previous year. The number of miscellaneous crimes against society offences has shown year-on-year decreases since 2003/04.

Table 19a: Police recorded other crimes against society (1,2,3) - number and rate of offences (Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics)

England and Wales

  Apr-02 to Mar-03 Apr-07 to Mar-08 Oct-11 to Sep-12 Oct-12 to Sep-13
OTHER CRIMES AGAINST SOCIETY 387,821 542,656 424,832 394,405
Drug offences 143,320 229,913 218,297 200,640
     Trafficking of drugs 22,435 28,323 30,111 28,946
     Possession of drugs 120,885 201,590 188,186 171,694
Possession of weapons offences 36,379 37,079 21,257 20,114
Public order offences 129,517 218,380 141,540 130,866
Miscellaneous crimes against society 78,605 57,284 43,738 42,785
Rate per 1,000 population        
OTHER CRIMES AGAINST SOCIETY 7 10 8 7
Drug offences 3 4 4 4
Possession of weapons offences 1 1 0 0
Public order offences 2 4 3 2
Miscellaneous crimes against society 2 1 1 1

Table notes:

  1. Source: Police recorded crime, Home Office
  2. Police recorded crime statistics based on data from all 44 forces in England and Wales (including the British Transport Police).
  3. For detailed footnotes and further years see Appendix table A4.

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Table 19b: Police recorded other crimes against society (1,2,3) - percentage change (Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics)

England and Wales

Percentage change
Oct 2012 to Sep 2013 compared with:
  Apr-02 to Mar-03 Apr-07 to Mar-08 Oct-11 to Sep-12
OTHER CRIMES AGAINST SOCIETY 2 -27 -7
Drug offences 40 -13 -8
     Trafficking of drugs 29 2 -4
     Possession of drugs 42 -15 -9
Possession of weapons offences -45 -46 -5
Public order offences 1 -40 -8
Miscellaneous crimes against society -46 -25 -2

Table notes:

  1. Source: Police recorded crime, Home Office
  2. Police recorded crime statistics based on data from all 44 forces in England and Wales (including the British Transport Police).
  3. For detailed footnotes and further years see Appendix table A4.

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Fraud

The extent of fraud is difficult to measure because it is a deceptive crime, often targeted at organisations rather than individuals. Some victims of fraud may be unaware they have been a victim of crime, or that any fraudulent activity has occurred. As a result many incidents of fraud may not be reported to the police or recalled by survey respondents. Fraud is also inherently different from other crimes in that one fraud offence can potentially affect thousands of victims. It may also be difficult to ascertain where the offence originated or took place (if, for example, it took place via the internet).

Recent changes to measuring fraud

The National Statistician’s Review of Crime Statistics for England and Wales identified fraud as one of the more important gaps in crime statistics and recommended that data from additional sources should be provided alongside existing available data in quarterly National Statistics. This section draws on a range of sources including police recorded crime, Action Fraud, the CSEW and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB). Together these help to provide a fuller picture. For more information on the different sources of fraud data, see Section 5.4 of the User Guide.

There have also been a number of changes to the presentation of fraud which were introduced in the quarterly bulletin released in July 2013. To reflect changes in operational arrangements for reporting and recording of fraud, data presented in the police recorded crime series now include offences recorded by Action Fraud. Since 1 April 2013, Action Fraud has taken responsibility for the central recording of fraud offences previously recorded by individual police forces. To allow for piloting and development of the Action Fraud service this transfer of responsibility has had a phased introduction over the last three years.

From April 2011, Action Fraud began to gradually take responsibility for recording fraud in all police forces areas in England and Wales, although it was not until March 2013 that responsibility had fully transferred from all police forces1. As such, the data presented in this bulletin on fraud recorded by the police cover both offences recorded by individual police forces, and those recorded by Action Fraud. In successive quarterly releases the proportion of fraud offences recorded by individual forces has diminished (and that by Action has Fraud grown) as forces have been switching to central recording over the course of 2012/13. It will not be until figures are presented for the year ending March 2014, due to be published in July 2014, that all police recorded fraud will appear under Action Fraud.

Although Action Fraud receives reports of fraud from victims across the UK, data presented in this bulletin cover fraud offences where the victim resides in England or Wales only. As it has not been possible to disaggregate Action Fraud data to police force areas on a consistent basis these are not included in sub-national tables. Users of police force area level data should refer to Table 5c in the User Guide for details of when each local force transferred responsibility for recording to Action Fraud. This will allow users to interpret trends in fraud and total recorded crime over time. For example, as Cleveland transferred their fraud recording in March 2013 the 97 fraud offences recorded by the force in the year ending September 2013 does not include fraud offences that they would have otherwise recorded between March and September 2013 had they not transferred to Action Fraud. Thus it is not valid to make like for like comparisons between fraud offences recorded during the year ending September 2013 with previous years. To provide users with a comparable time series at sub-national level our reference tables include a figure for all police recorded crime excluding fraud.

In addition, changes to the way in which police record crimes of fraud following the introduction of the Fraud Act 2006 mean that fraud figures from 2007/08 onwards are not directly comparable with figures for earlier years. Changes in the number of fraud offences over time should be seen in the context of the known under-reporting of fraud and the most recent increases in the number of fraud offences recorded are likely to have been influenced by the transfer of responsibility for recording fraud offences from police forces to Action Fraud and this being an easier way for the public to report such offences. See Section 5.4 of the User Guide for more details on police recorded fraud and Action Fraud.

As mentioned earlier in the publication, the offence ‘Making off without payment’ has been removed from fraud and moved into the more appropriate ‘All other theft offences’ category. A back series has now been created and is available in this bulletin. See the ‘Theft Offences – Other theft of property’ section for more information.

Total fraud offences recorded by the police (including via Action Fraud)

In the year ending September 2013, 201,035 fraud offences were recorded in England and Wales (Table 20a). This is equivalent to 4 offences recorded per 1,000 population. This represents a volume increase of 34% compared with the previous year. However, the move to centralised recording of fraud making comparisons over time is problematic. There are a number of factors that may have contributed to this increase including:

  • the centralisation of recording fraud and a possible improvement in recording practices resulting from having a specialist team dealing with fraud;

  • an increased proportion of victims reporting fraud following publicity around the launch of Action Fraud; and,

  • a possible increase in the volume of fraud.

It is not possible to separate out or quantify the scale of each possible factor. A clearer picture will emerge over the next one to two years once the new recording arrangements have matured. Quarterly analysis (see Table QT1 (204.5 Kb Excel sheet) ) of fraud offences indicate a recent flattening of reported fraud offences, after several quarters of steady increases. This flattening is to be expected, given the transition of recorded fraud from police forces to Action Fraud was completed in April 2013. The number of offences recorded in the past two quarters (April to June; and July to September) remain 26% higher than the same six months a year earlier. It will only be in the year ending December 2014 (due to be published in April 2015) that all effects of the transition will no longer be a factor when considering the year-on year changes in fraud.

Appendix table A5 (432.5 Kb Excel sheet) shows a more detailed breakdown of the fraud offences recorded by Action Fraud in the year ending September 2013. For more information on the types of offences within each of the Action Fraud categories see Section 5.4 of the User Guide and Appendix table A5 (432.5 Kb Excel sheet) .

Table 20a: Fraud offences recorded by police (including Action Fraud) (1,2) - number and rate of offences (Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics)

England and Wales

  Apr-07 to Mar-08 Oct-11 to Sep-12 Oct-12 to Sep-13
Fraud offences including Action Fraud3,4,5 71,135 149,984 201,035
Fraud rate per 1,000 population 1 3 4

Table notes:

  1. Source: Police recorded crime, Home Office and Action Fraud, National Fraud Authority
  2. Police recorded crime statistics based on all data from all 44 forces in England and Wales (including the British Transport Police). Data presented also include crimes reported through Action Fraud. Between April 2011 and September 2012, five police forces had transferred responsibility for recording selected fraud offences to Action Fraud, followed by the remaining police forces in England and Wales by 31 March 2013.
  3. Action Fraud have taken over the recording of fraud offences on behalf of individual police forces. This process began in April 2011 and was rolled out to all police forces by March 2013. Due to this change caution should be applied when comparing data over this transitional period and with earlier years. See the User Guide for more details including information on transfer date to Action Fraud for each force.
  4. From 2012-13, forgery offences have been reclassified under miscellaneous crimes against society.
  5. Making off without payment was previously included in fraud. Since April 2013, it is included in all other theft offences.

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Table 20b: Fraud offences recorded by police (including Action Fraud) (1,2) - percentage change (Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics)

England and Wales

Percentage change
  Oct 2012 to Sep 2013 compared with:  
  Apr-07 to Mar-08 Oct-11 to Sep-12
Fraud offences including Action Fraud3,4,5 183 34

Table notes:

  1. Source: Police recorded crime, Home Office and Action Fraud, National Fraud Authority
  2. Police recorded crime statistics based on all data from all 44 forces in England and Wales (including the British Transport Police). Data presented also include crimes reported through Action Fraud. Between April 2011 and September 2012, five police forces had transferred responsibility for recording selected fraud offences to Action Fraud, followed by the remaining police forces in England and Wales by 31 March 2013.
  3. Action Fraud have taken over the recording of fraud offences on behalf of individual police forces. This process began in April 2011 and was rolled out to all police forces by March 2013. Due to this change caution should be applied when comparing data over this transitional period and with earlier years. See the User Guide for more details including information on transfer date to Action Fraud for each force.
  4. From 2012-13, forgery offences have been reclassified under miscellaneous crimes against society.
  5. 'Making off without payment' was previously included in fraud. Since April 2013, it is included in all other theft offences.

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Fraud offences reported by industry bodies

In line with recommendations from the National Statistician’s review of crime statistics this bulletin draws on additional sources to provide further context. In addition to the fraud offences recorded by Action Fraud which are included in the police recorded crime series shown above, the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) also collect data on incidents of fraud direct from industry bodies (Table 21). The NFIB are based at the City of London Police, who leads national policing on fraud.

The NFIB currently include data from two industry bodies; CIFAS, a UK-wide fraud prevention service representing around 300 organisations from the public and private sectors, and Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK), which collates information from the card payments industry in the UK. The NFIB will be sourcing data from additional financial and fraud prevention institutions in the future.

Data supplied by CIFAS are recorded in line with the National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS) and Home Office Counting Rules (HOCR) for recorded crime. However, ONS understands that with regard to data from FFA UK it is possible that different criteria may be used in judging whether an incident should be referred to the NFIB. For example, criteria such as cost, impact or scale of the fraud may have a bearing. Both sets of industry data related only to those organisations that are part of the respective membership networks. These data are subject to continuing development and ONS is giving consideration as to whether these can be designated as Official Statistics in the future.

In addition, users should also be aware that the NFIB data cover the United Kingdom as a whole, while all other data in this bulletin refer to England and Wales. However, the NFIB data does provide additional context to the official statistics.

NFIB data previously published by ONS between April 2012 and April 2013 are not comparable with these latest data. Previous quarterly publications have combined NFIB figures from industry sources with Action Fraud offence data that are now included within the police recorded crime series. While undertaking the review of offence classifications (see the Introduction for more information) further consideration was given to the presentation of fraud offences. It was decided it would be more coherent to move the Action Fraud offences (recorded in accordance with the HOCR) into the main police recorded crime series and thus fraud as reported by the NFIB (see Table 21) is now based solely on data from industry sources. The data published here are comparable with the last two quarterly publications (year ending March 2013, and year ending June 2013) when the change was implemented.

In addition to the offences recorded by Action Fraud, the NFIB received 292,814 reports of fraud in the UK in the year ending September 2013 from industry bodies (Table 21). Of the fraud offences reported by those bodies, 95% were in the category of banking and payment related fraud (277,780). This category includes fraud involving plastic cards, cheques and online bank accounts which accounted for the majority of the offences recorded in the year ending September 2013. The category also covers payment-related frauds under the sub-category ‘Application Fraud’ which includes offences that occurred outside of the banking sector; for example, fraudulent applications made in relation to hire purchase agreements, as well as to insurance, telecommunications or retail companies, or public sector organisations.

It is possible that there may be some double counting between these sources and the offences recorded via direct reports from victims to Action Fraud (for example a member of the public who has experienced plastic card fraud). ONS are seeking to quantify the extent to which this happens and will provide further information in due course.

Table 21: Fraud offences, reported by industry bodies to NFIB (1,2), year ending September 2013 (not designated as National Statistics)

United Kingdom

Fraud Type3,4 CIFAS FFA UK Total
Banking and payment related fraud 184,353 93,427 277,780
     Cheque, Plastic Card and Online Bank Accounts (not PSP) 111,788 93,427 205,215
     Application Fraud (excluding Mortgages) 68,590 0 68,590
     Mortgage Related Fraud  3,975 0 3,975
Insurance Related Fraud 9,605 0 9,605
Telecom Industry Fraud (Misuse of Contracts) 5,369 0 5,369
Business Trading Fraud 60 0 60
Total 199,387 93,427 292,814

Table notes:

  1. Source: National Fraud Intelligence Bureau5
  2. From 2012/13, this table presents fraud data collated by NFIB from CIFAS and UK Payments only and does not include fraud offences recorded by Action Fraud, which are now represented alongside police recorded crime. Data presented here are therefore not comparable with past published NFIB figures.
  3. The breakdown of fraud types presented here is condensed due to the removal of Action Fraud data. All other former fraud offence categories not included here are represented in the Action Fraud breakdown in Table A5.
  4. For an explanation and examples of fraud offences within each category, see Section 5.4 of the User Guide.
  5. For more information on the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau see http://www.nfib.police.uk/

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Plastic card fraud

Elements of banking and payment related fraud are the focus of a module of questions in the CSEW, which asks respondents about their experience of plastic card fraud (although plastic card fraud theft itself is not included in the main CSEW crime count). The year ending September 2013 CSEW showed that 4.8% of plastic card owners were victims of card fraud in the last year, with no statistically significant difference from the 4.5% estimated in the year ending September 2012. The level of plastic card fraud is at a similar level to that measured five years ago in the 2007/08 survey. The general trend follows a rise in plastic card fraud from the 2006/07 survey through to the 2008/09 survey, which corresponds to industry source losses as described below (Figure 16). Despite the decrease shown since 2009/10, the current level of victimisation remains higher than more established acquisitive offences such as theft from the person and other theft of personal property (1.1% and 1.8% respectively, Table 15). Further analysis, based on the 2011/12 CSEW, was published on 9 May 2013 as part of ‘Focus on Property Crime: Chapter 3 Plastic card fraud’.

Separate figures are available from the UK Cards Association who report on levels of financial fraud losses on UK cards. This totalled £388 million in 2012, a 14% increase compared with 2011 (£341m). Despite the recent increase, significant decreases in recent years prior to this mean that card fraud losses are 36% lower than in 2008 (£610m) when losses were at their peak.

The industry suggests that a combination of the use of fraud screening detection tools by retailers, banks and the cards industry, the introduction of chip and pin technology, enhanced user and industry awareness and improved prevention and detection initiatives have led to the decrease in plastic card fraud. More detailed information including a breakdown of plastic card fraud by type in the UK and abroad, is available from the UK Cards Association.

Figure 16: Proportion of CSEW plastic card users who had been a victim of plastic card fraud in the last year, 2005/06 to year ending September 2013

Figure 16: Proportion of CSEW plastic card users who had been a victim of plastic card fraud in the last year, 2005/06 to year ending September 2013

Notes:

  1. Source: Crime Survey for England and Wales, Office for National Statistics

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Notes for Fraud

  1. For more information regarding the date when each police force transferred responsibility to Action Fraud see Section 5.4: Fraud in the User Guide.

Crime experienced by children aged 10 to 15

Since January 2009, the CSEW has asked children aged 10 to 15 resident in households in England and Wales about their experience of crime in the previous 12 months. Preliminary results from the first calendar year were published in 2010 (Millard and Flatley). The results for 2010/11 were published in two reports (Chaplin et al and Smith et al). The questionnaire was refined again for the 2011/12 survey and kept consistent in the 2012/13 survey. The changes to the questions and definitions used in the first three years of the survey should be borne in mind when interpreting the figures. While data presented over the two most recent years should be comparable it is difficult to discern a trend as the total number of incidents has varied across the available time series. For this reason no percentage change or statistical significance is presented for any year. Methodological differences also mean that direct comparisons cannot be made between the adult and child data (Millard and Flatley).

The numbers of incidents estimated for the four years of the survey are shown in Tables 22-24. Two approaches to measuring crime are used. The ‘preferred measure’ takes into account factors identified as important in determining the severity of an incident (such as relationship to the offender and level of injury or value of item stolen or damaged). In addition to offences included in the preferred method, the ‘broad measure’ also includes minor offences between children and family members that would not normally be treated as criminal matters. Results commented on in this section refer only to the preferred measure of crime, although the tables show both figures for completeness. More details about these two measures can be found in the ‘Further Information’ section.

Overall level of crime – Preferred measure

Based on CSEW interviews in the year ending September 2013, there were an estimated 859,000 crimes experienced by children aged 10 to 15 using the preferred measure; of this 54% were violent crimes (464,000) while most of the remaining crimes were thefts of personal property (334,000). Incidents of vandalism to personal property experienced by children were less common (61,000 incidents).

Thirteen per cent of children aged 10 to 15 have been recorded as a victim of a crime covered by the CSEW in the past year. Of these, this includes 7% who have been a victim of a violent crime and 7% who had been a victim of personal theft (Tables 22 to 24). While there were more violent incidents than theft offences, violent incidents affected a similar proportion of 10 to 15 year olds as seen for theft offences. This is because they were more likely to have been repeated against the same victim.

Table 22a: CSEW offences experienced by children aged 10 to 15 (1,2) - Preferred measure

England and Wales

Children aged 10 to 15
    Preferred measure3
    Apr-09 to Mar-10 Apr-10 to Mar-11 Apr-11 to Mar-12 Apr-12 to Mar-134 Oct-12 to Sep-134
    Thousands:        
Number of incidents 1,030 893 1,023 821 859
    Percentage:        
Percentage who were victims once or more 14.6 11.7 15.0 12.7 13.3
Unweighted base 3,762 3,849 3,930 2,879 3,011

Table notes:

  1. Source: Crime Survey for England and Wales, Office for National Statistics
  2. Some estimates are based on a small number of children hence caution should be applied; see User Guide tables UG6 and UG8 for the margin of error around the 2012/13 estimates.
  3. The ‘Preferred measure’ takes into account factors identified as important in determining the severity of an incidence (such as level of injury, value of item stolen or damaged, relationship with the perpetrator) while the ‘Broad measure’ counts all incidents which would be legally defined as crimes and therefore may include low-level incidents between children.
  4. Base sizes for data from April 2012 are smaller than previous years, due to sample size reductions introduced.

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Table 22b: CSEW offences experienced by children aged 10 to 15 (1,2) - Broad measure

England and Wales

Children aged 10 to 15
  Broad measure3
  Apr-09 to Mar-10 Apr-10 to Mar-11 Apr-11 to Mar-12 Apr-12 to Mar-134 Oct-12 to Sep-134
  Thousands:    
Number of incidents 2,071 1,507 1,513 1,238 1,277
  Percentage:      
Percentage who were victims once or more 24.5 17.3 20.1 17.6 18.4
Unweighted base 3,762 3,849 3,930 2,879 3,011

Table notes:

  1. Source: Crime Survey for England and Wales, Office for National Statistics
  2. Some estimates are based on a small number of children hence caution should be applied; see User Guide tables UG6 and UG8 for the margin of error around the 2012/13 estimates.
  3. The ‘Preferred measure’ takes into account factors identified as important in determining the severity of an incidence (such as level of injury, value of item stolen or damaged, relationship with the perpetrator) while the ‘Broad measure’ counts all incidents which would be legally defined as crimes and therefore may include low-level incidents between children.
  4. Base sizes for data from April 2012 are smaller than previous years, due to sample size reductions introduced.

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Violent offences – preferred measure

The CSEW estimates that there were 464,000 violent offences against children aged 10 to 15 in the year ending September 2013 with just over two thirds (69%) of these resulting in injury to the victim. Although not directly comparable, 54% of violent incidents among adults aged 16 or over resulted in injury to the victim (Table 5a).

Seven per cent of children aged 10 to 15 had experienced violent crime in the last year; and 4% had experienced violence with injury (Table 23a). One per cent of children aged 10 to 15 were victims of robbery in the last year.

Table 23a: CSEW violent offences experienced by children aged 10 to 15 (1,2) - Preferred measure

England and Wales

Children aged 10 to 15
    Preferred measure3
    Apr-09 to Mar-10 Apr-10 to Mar-11 Apr-11 to Mar-12 Apr-12 to Mar-134 Oct-12 to Sep-134
    Number of incidents (thousands):    
Violence 630 586 566 465 464
  Wounding 128 87 55 89 102
  Assault with minor injury 265 328 298 207 186
  Assault without injury 164 115 132 103 105
  Robbery 74 56 81 65 72
  Aggressive behaviour (unspecified)5 .. .. .. .. ..
  Theft with threat (unspecified)5 .. .. .. .. ..
  Violence with injury 412 449 388 329 320
  Violence without injury (includes specified and unspecified)5,6,7 217 137 177 136 144
    Percentage who were victims once or more:  
Violence 8.5 6.9 7.6 6.1 6.5
  Wounding 1.9 1.1 0.9 1.0 1.3
  Assault with minor injury 3.7 3.7 3.6 2.9 3.0
  Assault without injury 2.4 1.7 2.1 1.4 1.5
  Robbery 1.3 0.9 1.3 1.0 0.9
  Aggressive behaviour (unspecified)5 .. .. .. .. ..
  Theft with threat (unspecified)5 .. .. .. .. ..
  Violence with injury 5.5 5.1 4.8 4.2 4.5
  Violence without injury (includes specified and unspecified)5,6,7 3.4 2.1 3.1 2.1 2.2
Unweighted base 3,762 3,849 3,930 2,879 3,011

Table notes:

  1. Source: Crime Survey for England and Wales, Office for National Statistics
  2. Some estimates are based on a small number of children hence caution should be applied; see User Guide tables UG6 and UG8 for the margin of error around the 2012/13 estimates.
  3. The ‘Preferred measure’ takes into account factors identified as important in determining the severity of an incidence (such as level of injury, value of item stolen or damaged, relationship with the perpetrator) while the ‘Broad measure’ counts all incidents which would be legally defined as crimes and therefore may include low-level incidents between children.
  4. Base sizes for data from April 2012 are smaller than previous years, due to sample size reductions introduced.
  5. These offences are designated as 'unspecified' since only limited information was collected about these low-level offences in 2009/10 and 2010/11 (see Section 2.5 of the User Guide for more details).
  6. For the years 2009/10 and 2010/11 'Violence without injury' includes unspecified crimes
  7. Violence with injury includes wounding, assault with minor injury and robbery where injury was sustained. Violence without injury includes assault without injury and robbery with no injury plus, for the ‘Broad measure’, the unspecified offences of aggressive behaviour and theft with threat or force (these involve no injury otherwise further information would have been collected during the interview).

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Table 23b: CSEW violent offences experienced by children aged 10 to 15 (1,2) - Broad measure

England and Wales

Children aged 10 to 15
    Broad measure3
  Apr-09 to Mar-10 Apr-10 to Mar-11 Apr-11 to Mar-12 Apr-12 to Mar-134 Oct-12 to Sep-134
  Number of incidents (thousands):      
Violence 1,508 1,088 979 844 826
  Wounding 130 87 55 89 102
  Assault with minor injury 357 399 370 257 262
  Assault without injury 316 195 472 429 389
  Robbery 80 64 83 69 74
  Aggressive behaviour (unspecified)5 607 341 .. .. ..
  Theft with threat (unspecified)5 18 3 .. .. ..
  Violence with injury 509 521 460 379 396
  Violence without injury (includes specified and unspecified)5,6,7 999 567 519 465 430
    Percentage who were victims once or more:    
Violence 18.1 12.1 12.9 11.7 12.0
  Wounding 1.9 1.1 0.9 1.0 1.3
  Assault with minor injury 5.1 4.5 4.5 3.7 4.2
  Assault without injury 4.2 3.0 7.1 6.4 5.9
  Robbery 1.4 1.0 1.3 1.1 0.9
  Aggressive behaviour (unspecified)5 7.5 4.5 .. .. ..
  Theft with threat (unspecified)5 0.2 0.1 .. .. ..
  Violence with injury 6.8 5.8 5.7 4.9 5.7
  Violence without injury (includes specified and unspecified)5,6,7 12.4 7.4 8.0 7.0 6.6
Unweighted base 3,762 3,849 3,930 2,879 3,011

Table notes:

  1. Source: Crime Survey for England and Wales, Office for National Statistics
  2. Some estimates are based on a small number of children hence caution should be applied; see User Guide tables UG6 and UG8 for the margin of error around the 2012/13 estimates.
  3. The ‘Preferred measure’ takes into account factors identified as important in determining the severity of an incidence (such as level of injury, value of item stolen or damaged, relationship with the perpetrator) while the ‘Broad measure’ counts all incidents which would be legally defined as crimes and therefore may include low-level incidents between children.
  4. Base sizes for data from April 2012 are smaller than previous years, due to sample size reductions introduced.
  5. These offences are designated as 'unspecified' since only limited information was collected about these low-level offences in 2009/10 and 2010/11 (see Section 2.5 of the User Guide for more details).
  6. For the years 2009/10 and 2010/11 'Violence without injury' includes unspecified crimes
  7. Violence with injury includes wounding, assault with minor injury and robbery where injury was sustained. Violence without injury includes assault without injury and robbery with no injury plus, for the ‘Broad measure’, the unspecified offences of aggressive behaviour and theft with threat or force (these involve no injury otherwise further information would have been collected during the interview).

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Property offences – preferred measure

There were an estimated 334,000 incidents of theft and 61,000 incidents of damage of personal property experienced by children aged 10 to 15 in the year ending September 2013 according to the CSEW. Around 72% of the thefts were classified as other theft of personal property (241,000 incidents) which includes thefts of property left unattended.

Seven per cent of children aged 10 to 15 had experienced an incident of personal theft in the last year, with other theft of personal property most commonly experienced (5%). Theft from the person (for example, pick-pocketing) was not as common, with less than 1% of children reporting being victimised. One per cent of children had experienced vandalism to personal property.

Table 24a: CSEW property offences experienced by children aged 10 to 15 (1,2) - Preferred measure

England and Wales

Children aged 10 to 15
  Preferred measure3
  Apr-09 to Mar-10 Apr-10 to Mar-11 Apr-11 to Mar-12 Apr-12 to Mar-134 Oct-12 to Sep-134
  Number of incidents (thousands):    
Personal theft 353 280 419 314 334
  Theft from the person 59 34 51 41 36
  Snatch theft 21 19 25 12 15
  Stealth theft 38 15 26 29 21
  Other theft of personal property 203 165 253 221 241
  Theft of personal property (unspecifed)5 .. .. .. .. ..
  Theft from the dwelling/outside the dwelling6 20 25 39 22 29
  Bicycle theft6 71 56 75 31 28
Vandalism to personal property6 48 27 39 42 61
  Damage to personal property6 48 27 39 42 61
  Damage to personal property (unspecified)5,6 .. .. .. .. ..
  Percentage who were victims once or more:  
Personal theft 7.4 5.4 8.0 6.8 6.9
  Theft from the person 0.9 0.7 1.2 0.9 0.8
  Snatch theft 0.3 0.3 0.6 0.3 0.3
  Stealth theft 0.6 0.3 0.6 0.7 0.4
  Other theft of personal property 4.4 3.1 4.9 4.8 5.0
  Theft of personal property (unspecifed)5 .. .. .. .. ..
  Theft from the dwelling/outside the dwelling6 0.5 0.5 0.8 0.5 0.6
  Bicycle theft6 1.6 1.2 1.5 0.8 0.7
Vandalism to personal property6 0.7 0.4 0.8 1.0 1.1
  Damage to personal property6 0.7 0.4 0.8 1.0 1.1
  Damage to personal property (unspecified)5,6 .. .. .. .. ..
Unweighted base 3,762 3,849 3,930 2,879 3,011

Table notes:

  1. Source: Crime Survey for England and Wales, Office for National Statistics
  2. Some estimates are based on a small number of children hence caution should be applied; see User Guide tables UG6 and UG8 for the margin of error around the 2012/13 estimates.
  3. The ‘Preferred measure’ takes into account factors identified as important in determining the severity of an incidence (such as level of injury, value of item stolen or damaged, relationship with the perpetrator) while the ‘Broad measure’ counts all incidents which would be legally defined as crimes and therefore may include low-level incidents between children.
  4. Base sizes for data from April 2012 are smaller than previous years, due to sample size reductions introduced.
  5. These offences are designated as 'unspecified' since only limited information was collected about these low-level offences in 2009/10 and 2010/11 (see Section 2.5 of the User Guide for more details).
  6. These offences are designated as 'household' offences for adults on the CSEW (respondents reply on behalf of the household) but are presented here as 'personal' offences when the property stolen or damaged solely belonged to the child respondent. This broadens the scope of personal victimisation but may also result in double-counting of offences on the adult survey; the extent to which this happens will be evaluated in the future.

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Table 24b: CSEW property offences experienced by children aged 10 to 15 (1,2) - Broad measure

England and Wales

Children aged 10 to 15
  Broad measure3
  Apr-09 to Mar-10 Apr-10 to Mar-11 Apr-11 to Mar-12 Apr-12 to Mar-134 Oct-12 to Sep-134
  Number of incidents (thousands):    
Personal theft 426 334 487 352 389
  Theft from the person 61 37 53 47 48
  Snatch theft 22 22 25 12 21
  Stealth theft 38 15 27 35 27
  Other theft of personal property 250 190 320 252 284
  Theft of personal property (unspecifed)5 21 19 .. .. ..
  Theft from the dwelling/outside the dwelling6 23 31 39 22 29
  Bicycle theft6 71 56 75 31 28
Vandalism to personal property6 137 85 47 42 61
  Damage to personal property6 59 27 47 42 61
  Damage to personal property (unspecified)5,6 78 57 .. .. ..
  Percentage who were victims once or more:    
Personal theft 8.5 6.3 9.0 7.4 7.6
  Theft from the person 0.9 0.7 1.2 1.0 0.9
  Snatch theft 0.3 0.4 0.6 0.3 0.4
  Stealth theft 0.6 0.3 0.7 0.8 0.5
  Other theft of personal property 5.0 3.5 5.8 5.3 5.7
  Theft of personal property (unspecifed)5 0.5 0.4 .. .. ..
  Theft from the dwelling/outside the dwelling6 0.5 0.6 0.8 0.5 0.6
  Bicycle theft6 1.6 1.2 1.5 0.8 0.7
Vandalism to personal property6 2.2 1.5 1.0 1.0 1.1
  Damage to personal property6 1.0 0.4 1.0 1.0 1.1
  Damage to personal property (unspecified)5,6 1.3 1.1 .. .. ..
Unweighted base 3,762 3,849 3,930 2,879 3,011

Table notes:

  1. Source: Crime Survey for England and Wales, Office for National Statistics
  2. Some estimates are based on a small number of children hence caution should be applied; see User Guide tables UG6 and UG8 for the margin of error around the 2012/13 estimates.
  3. The ‘Preferred measure’ takes into account factors identified as important in determining the severity of an incidence (such as level of injury, value of item stolen or damaged, relationship with the perpetrator) while the ‘Broad measure’ counts all incidents which would be legally defined as crimes and therefore may include low-level incidents between children.
  4. Base sizes for data from April 2012 are smaller than previous years, due to sample size reductions introduced.
  5. These offences are designated as 'unspecified' since only limited information was collected about these low-level offences in 2009/10 and 2010/11 (see Section 2.5 of the User Guide for more details).
  6. These offences are designated as 'household' offences for adults on the CSEW (respondents reply on behalf of the household) but are presented here as 'personal' offences when the property stolen or damaged solely belonged to the child respondent. This broadens the scope of personal victimisation but may also result in double-counting of offences on the adult survey; the extent to which this happens will be evaluated in the future.

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Anti-social behaviour

Incidents recorded by the police

Figures relating to anti-social behaviour (ASB) can be considered alongside police recorded (notifiable) crime to provide a more comprehensive view of the crime and disorder that comes to the attention of the police. Any incident of anti-social behaviour which results in a notifiable offence will be included in police recorded crime figures and as such the two sets of data do not overlap.

The police record anti-social behaviour incidents in accordance with the National Standard for Incident Recording (NSIR); for further details, see section 5.7 of the User Guide. While incidents are recorded under NSIR in accordance with the same ‘victim focused’ approach that applies for recorded crime, these figures are not currently accredited National Statistics. In particular, a review by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) in 2012 found significant variation in the recording of ASB incidents across police forces1. It is also known that occasionally police forces may be duplicating some occurrences of a singular ASB incident where multiple reports by different callers have been made.

Furthermore, data on ASB incidents before and after 2011/12 are not directly comparable, owing to a change in the classification used for ASB incidents. From April 2012 ASB incidents also include data from the British Transport Police so comparisons with the latest two years can only be made with the British Transport Police figures excluded.

The police recorded 2.2 million incidents of ASB in the year ending September 20132. This compares to the 3.7 million notifiable crimes recorded by the police over the same period (Figure 17). Excluding the incidents recorded by the British Transport Police, the number of ASB incidents in the year ending September 2013 decreased by 9% compared with the previous year. Following the HMIC review in 2012 it was found that there was a wide variation in the quality of decision making associated with the recording of ASB. HMIC found instances of:

  • Forces failing to identify crimes, instead wrongly recording them as ASB.

  • Reported ASB not being recorded on force systems, for instance if the victim had reported it directly to the neighbourhood team or via email (as opposed to by telephone).

  • Reported ASB being recorded as something else, such as suspicious behaviour.

  • Incidents that were not ASB being recorded as ASB.

Figures for the period 2007/08 to 2010/11 also show declines in the number of ASB incidents recorded by the police consistent with recent trends in total police recorded crime.

Figure 17: Police recorded crime and anti-social behaviour incidents, 2007/08 to year ending September 2013 (not designated as National Statistics)

Figure 17: Police recorded crime and anti-social behaviour incidents, 2007/08 to year ending September 2013 (not designated as National Statistics)

Notes:

  1. Source: Police recorded crime, Home Office; ASB incidents: 2007/08 – 2009/10, National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA); 2010/11, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC); from 2011/12 onwards, Home Office
  2. ASB incidents exclude British Transport Police.
  3. Following a different approach to recording ASB incidents data, figures for year ending September 2012 and year ending September 2013 are not directly comparable with previous years; see Chapter 5 of the User Guide for more information.
  4. Due to revised data the figure for year ending September 2012 differs from the figure published in the year ending September 2012 quarterly release.

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From 2011/12, a new set of three simplified categories for ASB was introduced (for further details, see Chapter 5 of the User Guide):

  • ‘Nuisance’ – captures incidents where an act, condition, thing or person causes trouble, annoyance, irritation, inconvenience, offence or suffering to the local community in general rather than to individual victims;

  • ‘Personal’ – captures incidents that are perceived as either deliberately targeted at an individual or group, or having an impact on an individual or group rather than the community at large; and

  • ‘Environmental’ – captures incidents where individuals and groups have an impact on their surroundings, including natural, built and social environments.

All forces adopted these new definitions, though in the HMIC review it was found that 35% of all incidents reviewed were considered to be incorrectly categorised. This should be kept in mind when considering ASB incident figures.

In the year ending September 2013, of the ASB incidents categorised by the police, 66% were identified as ‘Nuisance’; 28% as ‘Personal’; and 6% as ‘Environmental’ (Figure 18). This distribution may reflect propensity of reporting rather than the actual distribution of ASB by type.

Figure 18: Categories of anti-social behaviour incidents, year ending September 2013 (not designated as National Statistics)

Figure 18: Categories of anti-social behaviour incidents, year ending September 2013 (not designated as National Statistics)

Notes:

  1. Source: Home Office
  2. ASB figures are not accredited National Statistics.
  3. Figures include British Transport Police.

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CSEW measures of perceived anti-social behaviour

The CSEW contains questions asking respondents about perceptions of problems with different types of ASB in their local area. Seven of these questions are used to provide an overall index of perceived ASB.

In the year ending September 2013 CSEW, 12% of adults perceived there to be a high level of ASB in their local area, a statistically significant decrease of two percentage points from the previous year (Table 25). Compared with the previous year, the year to September 2013 CSEW showed decreases in the proportions of adults perceiving problems in all types of ASB, with the exception of the ‘People using or dealing drugs’ category showing a non-statistically significant decrease of one percentage point.

Since 2007/08 the CSEW has consistently estimated that around a quarter of adults perceive people being drunk or rowdy as a problem in the local area, although the latest data show a decrease to 20%. The most pronounced decline has been for the abandoned or burnt-out cars category, which peaked at 25% in 2002/03 and has subsequently fallen each year down to 3% in the year ending September 2013. Vandalism, graffiti and other deliberate damage to property has also seen large decreases over time, from 35% in 2002/03 to 17% in the year ending September 2013. The reduction in these two offences has been the main driver behind the overall reduction in the composite measure over time (Table 25).

Table 25: CSEW trends in the anti-social behaviour indicators, 1996 to year ending September 2013 (1,2)

England and Wales

Adults aged 16 and over
  Jan-96 to Dec-96 Apr-02 to Mar-03 Apr-07 to Mar-08 Oct-11 to Sep-12 Oct-12 to Sep-13 Statistically significant change, Oct-11 to Sep-12 to Oct-12 to Sep-13
  Percentages  
High level of perceived anti-social behaviour  :               21              16              14              12 *
             
  Percentage saying there is a very/fairly big problem in their area  
Rubbish or litter lying around              26              33              30              30              28 *
People using or dealing drugs              21              32              26              27              26  
Teenagers hanging around on the streets              24              33              31              23              20 *
People being drunk or rowdy in public places3  :               23              25              23              20 *
Vandalism, graffiti and other deliberate damage to property              24              35              27              20              17 *
Noisy neighbours or loud parties                 8              10              10              12              11 *
Abandoned or burnt-out cars3  :               25                 7                 4                 3 *
             
Unweighted base4,5 7,625 34,622 45,021 14,818 8,589  

Table notes:

  1. Source: Crime Survey for England and Wales, Office for National Statistics
  2. For further years data see Annual trend and demographic table D9 of the year ending March 2013 publication.
  3. The question on abandoned or burn-out cars was introduced in 2000 and the question on people being drunk or rowdy in public places was introduced in 2001.
  4. Unweighted bases refer to the question relating to people using or dealing drugs. Other bases will be similar.
  5. From April 2011 the number of respondents asked questions about their perceptions of problems in the local area was reduced (from a full sample) to a half sample and from April 2012 was reduced to a quarter sample.

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New questions about respondents’ actual experiences of ASB in their local area were added to the 2011/12 CSEW. These questions asked whether the respondent had personally experienced or witnessed ASB in their local area and, if so, what types.

Twenty-eight per cent of adults in the year ending September 2013 indicated that they had personally experienced or witnessed at least one of the ASB problems asked about in their local area in the previous year (Table 26), down from 29% in the year ending September 2012. This included 10% of adults who experienced or witnessed drink related anti-social behaviour and 9% who witnessed or experienced groups hanging around on the streets.

These figures might appear to suggest a disparity between perceptions of ASB and actual experience of such incidents, with around twice as many adults experiencing or witnessing ASB compared with those with a high level of perceived ASB in their local area. However, it is difficult to compare the two measures since the list of ASB categories used in the experience-based questions on ASB is more expansive than those asked of respondents in relation to their perceptions. In addition, they are measuring different things; actual experiences and perceptions. It is likely someone can experience an ASB incident without necessarily believing that it is part of a problem in their local area, if, for example, it was a one-off or isolated occurrence. The frequency or number of incidents experienced coupled with the perceived extent and seriousness of a problem will also vary from person to person.

Table 26: CSEW experiences of anti-social behaviour, year ending September 2012 to year ending September 2013 (1)

England and Wales

Adults aged 16 and over
  Oct-11 to Sep-12 Oct-12 to Sep-13 Statistically significant change, Oct-11 to Sep-12 to Oct-12 to Sep-13
  Percentages  
Personally experienced/witnessed anti-social behaviour in local area 29 28  
       
Types of anti-social behaviour experienced/witnessed2      
       
Drink related behaviour 11 10 *
Groups hanging around on the streets 10 9 *
Inconsiderate behaviour3 7 6 *
Loud music or other noise 5 5  
Litter, rubbish or dog-fouling 4 4  
Vandalism, criminal damage or graffiti 4 4 *
People being intimidated, verbally abused or harassed 4 3  
People using or dealing drugs 3 3  
Vehicle related behaviour4 3 3  
Nuisance neighbours 2 3 *
Begging, vagrancy or homeless people 1 1  
Out of control or dangerous dogs 1 1  
People committing inappropriate or indecent sexual acts in public 0 0  
       
Other anti-social behaviour 1 2 *
       
Unweighted base 39,392 35,807  

Table notes:

  1. Source: Crime Survey for England and Wales, Office for National Statistics
  2. Respondents can experience more than one type of anti-social behaviour, so percentages will not sum to the total that experienced/witnessed anti-social behaviour in their local area.
  3. Includes repeated/inappropriate use of fireworks; youths kicking/throwing balls in inappropriate areas; cycling/skateboarding in pedestrian areas or obstructing pavements; people throwing stones/bottles/eggs, etc.
  4. Includes inconvenient/illegal parking; abandoned vehicles; speeding cars/motorcycles; car revving; joyriding, etc.

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More detailed analysis on ASB as measured by the CSEW has been published in the 'Short Story on Anti-Social Behaviour, 2011/12' release.

Notes for Anti-social behaviour

  1. Further details on the recording of ASB incidents are also available in the HMIC report ‘A step in the right direction: The policing of anti-social behaviour’.

  2. ASB incidents include British Transport Police for April 2012 to June 2013 only.

Other non-notifiable crimes

The police recorded crime series is restricted to offences which are, or can be, tried at a Crown Court and a few additional closely related summary offences1. A range of non-notifiable offences may be dealt with by the police issuing an out of court disposal or by prosecution at a magistrates’ court. Offences dealt with at magistrates courts may also include some offences that have been identified by other agencies – for example, prosecutions by TV Licensing or by the DVLA for vehicle registration offences.

Data on these offences provide counts of offences where action has been brought against an offender and guilt has either been ascertained in court, or the offender has admitted culpability through acceptance of a penalty notice. These offences generally only come to light through the relevant authorities actively looking to identify offending behaviour. These figures help fill a gap in the coverage of the main CSEW and recorded crime statistics.

The most recent data available on non-notifiable crimes are for the year ending June 2013. Key findings include the following:

  • Cases brought to magistrates’ courts in the year ending June 2013 resulted in 1 million convicted non-notifiable offences, down 4% from the year ending June 2012 and continuing the downward trend since 2002/03 (Tables 27a and 27b)2; and

  • 38,000 Penalty Notices for Disorder were issued for non-notifiable offences in the year ending June 2013 (Table 27a). Four in five of these were for being drunk and disorderly3.

Table 27a: Non-notifiable crimes dealt with by the courts/Penalty Notices for Disorder (1) - number and rate

England and Wales

  Apr-02 to Mar-03 Apr-07 to Mar-08 Jul-11 to  Jun-12 Jul-12 to  Jun-13
Non-notifiable convictions (thousands)2 1,648 1,335 1,047 1,001
Incidence rate (per 1,000 population)3,4 31 25 19 18
         
Non-notifiable Penalty Notices for Disorder (thousands)5,6,7 : 65 44 38
Incidence rate (per 1,000 population)3,4 : 1 1 1

Table notes:

  1. Source: Ministry of Justice Criminal Justice Statistics Quarterly Update to June 2013 (Tables 2.1, 6.2, 6.3)
  2. Figures for non-notifiable convictions apply to offenders aged 10 and over.
  3. The year to March 2013 incidence rate is calculated using ONS mid-2011 census based population estimates. Other figures are also calculated using mid-year population estimates from previous years.
  4. Numbers will be affected by the size of the resident population relative to the transient or visiting populations and may therefore over-represent the number of crimes relative to the real population of potential offenders.
  5. Penalty Notices for Disorder, both higher and lower tier offences, issued to offenders aged 16 and over.
  6. Piloted in 2002 and introduced nationally in 2004.
  7. Includes British Transport Police from 2011.

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Table 27b: Non-notifiable crimes dealt with by the courts/Penalty Notices for Disorder (1) - percentage change

England and Wales

Percentage change
  July 2012 to June 2013  compared with:        
  Apr-02 to Mar-03 Apr-07 to Mar-08 Jul-11 to Jun-12
Non-notifiable convictions2 -39 -25 -4
Incidence rate3,4 -43 -28 -5
       
Non-notifiable Penalty Notices for Disorder5,6,7 : -41 -14
Incidence rate3,4 : -44 -15

Table notes:

  1. Source: Ministry of Justice Criminal Justice Statistics Quarterly Update to June 2013 (Tables 2.1, 6.2, 6.3)
  2. Figures for non-notifiable convictions apply to offenders aged 10 and over.
  3. The year to March 2013 incidence rate is calculated using ONS mid-2011 census based population estimates. Other figures are also calculated using mid-year population estimates from previous years.
  4. Numbers will be affected by the size of the resident population relative to the transient or visiting populations and may therefore over-represent the number of crimes relative to the real population of potential offenders.
  5. Penalty Notices for Disorder, both higher and lower tier offences, issued to offenders aged 16 and over.
  6. Piloted in 2002 and introduced nationally in 2004.
  7. Includes British Transport Police from 2011.

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The police and, increasingly, local authorities have powers to issue penalty notices for a range of traffic offences and in 2011/12, the police issued 1.5 million Fixed Penalty Notices (just over half of which related to speeding)4.

Notes for Other non-notifiable crimes

  1. The Notifiable Offence List includes all indictable and triable-either-way offences (that is, offences which could be tried at a Crown Court) and a few additional closely related summary offences (which would be dealt with by a magistrate). For information on the classifications used for notifiable crimes recorded by the police, see Appendix 1 of the User Guide.
  2. The latest figures available from the MoJ relate to the year ending June 2013 and thus lag the CSEW and police recorded series by three months but are included to give a fuller picture. The MoJ will release figures for the year ending September 2013 in February 2014.

  3. Figures from Ministry of Justice’s Criminal Justice Statistics Quarterly Update to June 2013 (Tables 2.1, 6.2, 6.3).

  4. Source: Police Powers and Procedures 2011/12.

Commercial victimisation survey

Following a recommendation of the National Statistician’s review of crime statistics (National Statistician, 2011), a survey of crimes against businesses took place in England and Wales in 2012. The Commercial Victimisation Survey (CVS) provides information on the volume and type of crime committed against businesses in England and Wales across four sectors: manufacturing, retail and wholesale, transport and storage, and accommodation and food. For more information, see the Home Office’s Detailed findings from the 2012 Commercial Victimisation Survey. The survey is annual, not continuous. The next round has taken place, and results will be published by the Home Office in February 20141. The next quarterly bulletin, which will be published in April 2014, will have a summary of the results.

Headline figures for the number of crimes against businesses are included in this bulletin. Results from the 2012 CVS show that there were an estimated 9.2 million incidents of crimes against businesses in the four sectors in the 12 months prior to the survey, equating to 13 incidents of crime per business (Table 28). The majority of incidents were experienced by businesses in the retail and wholesale sector (84%), who on average each reported experiencing nearly 20 incidents of crime in the 12 months prior to being interviewed (Home Office, 2013). The vast majority of these incidents were theft related – for example shoplifting.

Table 28: Number of incidents of crime experienced by businesses in the 12 months before interview, 2012 CVS, by industry sector (1)

England and Wales

  Manufacturing Retail and wholesale Transport and storage Accommodation and food All four sectors
ALL CVS CRIME number of incidents (thousands)                        164                     7,708                        324                        985                     9,181
ALL CVS CRIME rate per 1,000 premises                     1,500                   19,701                     5,824                     7,361                   13,305

Table notes:

  1. Source: 2012 Commercial Victimisation Survey, Home Office

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Notes for Commercial victimisation survey

  1. The next round of the CVS covers a different set of business sectors to the first – it will continue to look at manufacturing, and wholesale and retail, but the transport and storage, and accommodation and food sectors have been replaced by the agriculture sector and the arts, entertainment, and recreation sectors.

Data Sources - further information

This quarterly release presents the most recent crime statistics from two different sources: the Crime Survey for England and Wales (previously known as the British Crime Survey), and police recorded crime. It also draws on data from other sources to provide a more comprehensive picture. This series of first releases focuses on the latest figures and longer-term trends. For detailed information about the statistical sources used here, refer to the User Guide to Crime Statistics for England and Wales (ONS, 2013)1.

Strengths and limitations of the CSEW and police recorded crime

Crime Survey for England and Wales

Police recorded crime

Strengths

Strengths

Large nationally representative sample survey which provides a good measure of long-term trends for the crime types and the population it covers (that is, those resident in households)

Consistent methodology over time

Covers crimes not reported to the police and is not affected by changes in police recording practice; is therefore a better measure of long term trends

Coverage of survey extended in 2009 to include children aged 10 to 15 resident in households

Independent collection of crime figures

 

Has wider offence coverage and population coverage than the CSEW

Good measure of offences that are well-reported to the police

Is the primary source of local crime statistics and for lower-volume crimes (eg homicide)

Provides whole counts (rather than estimates that are subject to sampling variation)

Time lag between occurrence of crime and reporting results tends to be short, providing an indication of emerging trends

Limitations

Limitations

Survey is subject to error associated with sampling and respondents recalling past events

Excludes crimes against businesses and those not resident in households (eg residents of institutions and visitors)

Headline estimates exclude offences that are difficult to estimate robustly (such as sexual offences) or that have no victim who can be interviewed (eg homicides, and drug offences)

Excludes offences that are not reported to, or not recorded by, the police and does not include less serious offences dealt with by magistrates courts (eg motoring offences)

Trends can be influenced by changes in recording practices or police activity

Not possible to make long-term comparisons due to fundamental changes in recording practice introduced in 1998 and 2002/032

Notes for Data Sources - further information

  1. This User Guide is the standard source of information on both police recorded crime figures and the CSEW.
  2. See Section 3.2 of the User Guide.

Future plans and changes to statistical reporting

Changes resulting from new 2011 Census population estimates

This quarterly release presents the most recent crime statistics primarily from two key sources: the CSEW and police recorded crime. Both employ official population estimates in their construction. On 30 April 2013 ONS published sub national 2011 Census based population estimates for England and Wales for the period Mid-2002 to Mid-2010. The size of these revisions is small (464,000 or 0.83 per cent) in the context of the total population for England and Wales.

Police recorded crime rates used in this publication have been re-based in line with 2011 Census based population estimates from 2002/03, whilst CSEW estimates have remained on pre 2011 Census estimates. As the production and dissemination of revised CSEW estimates (and micro data with adjusted weights) would take longer to implement it was considered preferential to produce estimates on both bases rather than delay the publication of 2011 Census based police recorded crime figures. The original plan was to publish the first set of CSEW estimates using 2011 Census population totals in the January 2014 quarterly update however the population on which the Crime Survey figures are based were not available until October 2013. As a result it is currently planned to publish CSEW estimates using 2011 Census population totals in the quarterly update for the survey year to December 2013 which will be published in April 2014. Micro datasets for the entire affected back-series will be published at a later date. 

Changes to future CSEW estimates

The consultation on changes to the content of regular crime statistics outputs also proposed minor changes to the CSEW classifications (such as moving robbery out of violence into a separate standalone category to match its treatment in recorded crime). These have not yet been implemented as the programme of work to produce a back-series has been incorporated with a related work stream to produce revised survey weights following the release of 2011 Census-based population estimates, as mentioned previously. This will require the production of revised weights and key estimates for all survey years back to 2001/02.

List of products

Release tables published alongside this commentary include a set of bulletin tables containing the data tables and numbers appearing behind graphs in this publication, and more detailed estimates and counts of crime levels as set out in the table below.

 

Type of information

CSEW crime estimates

Police recorded crime

Time series

File 2 (“Appendix tables”) Tables A1 – A3 ,

File 2 (“Appendix tables”), Table A4

 

Local area statistics

 

File 4

Quarterly figures

File 3 (“Quarterly data”)

File 3 (“Quarterly data”)

Perceptions of crime

File 5e and 5f

(“Open data tables”)

 

Detailed demographic data

Files 5a to 5f (“Open data tables”)

 

The following are URL links associated with the production of Crime Statistics.

1. Crime statistics publications on the Home Office website

2. Historic police recorded crime

3. Previous quarterly publication

4. User Guide to Crime Statistics for England and Wales

5. The 2012/13 Crime Survey for England and Wales Technical Report Volume 1

6. Analysis of Variation in Crime Trends (methodological note).

7. Future Dissemination Strategy – Summary of Responses

8. Methodological note: Presentational changes to National Statistics on police recorded crime in England and Wales

9. ‘Nature of Crime Tables 2011/12’. Published 7 February 2013

10. ‘Focus on Public Perceptions of Policing 2011/12’. Published 29 November 2012

11.  ‘Focus on: Violent Crime and Sexual Offences, 2011/12’. Published 7 February 2013

12.  ‘Focus on Property Crime, 2012/13’. Published 28 November 2013

13.  ‘Short story on Anti Social Behaviour, 2011/12’. Published 11 April 2013

14.  ‘An overview of hate crime in England and Wales’ Published 17 December 2013

15.  National Statistician’s Review of Crime Statistics

Anonymised datasets from the Crime Survey for England and Wales (in SPSS format) currently are available on:

In addition to these National Statistics releases, provisional police recorded crime data drawn from local management information systems sit behind, street level figures released each month, via: 

Police recorded crime, street level mapping tool

Crime Statistics for Scotland are available from the Scottish Government

Crime Statistics for Northern Ireland are available from the Police Service of Northern Ireland

References

Audit Commission, 2007, Police data quality 2006/07: ‘Improving data quality to make places safer in England and Wales

Chaplin, R., Flatley, J. and Smith, K. (Eds), 2011, ‘Crime in England and Wales 2010/11’, Home Office Statistical Bulletin 10/11

Department of Transport, 2013, ‘Vehicle licensing statistics, Great Britain: Jul to Sep Q3 2013

Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSIC), 2013, ‘Provisional Monthly Hospital Episode Statistics for Admitted Patient Care, Outpatients and Accident and Emergency Data – April 2012 to March 2013

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), 2012a, ‘A step in the right direction: The policing of anti-social behaviour

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), 2012b, ‘The crime scene: A review of police crime and incident reports

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), 2013a, ‘Mistakes were made: HMIC’s review into allegations and intelligence material concerning Jimmy Savile between 1964 and 2012’

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), 2013b, ‘Crime recording in Kent – A report commissioned by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) and Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service (HMCPSI), 2012, ‘Forging the links: Rape investigation and prosecution

Home Affairs Committee, 2013 ‘Counter Terrorism: Evidence heard in Public Questions 234-397

Home Office, 2012a, ‘Drug misuse declared: Findings from the 2011/12 Crime Survey for England and Wales (2nd edition)

Home Office, 2012b, ‘Guidance on the offence of buying scrap metal for cash

Home Office, 2013a, ‘Crimes against businesses: Detailed findings from the 2012 Commercial Victimisation Survey

Home Office, 2013b, ‘Metal theft, England and Wales, financial year ending March 2013

Home Office, 2013c, ‘Police powers and procedures England and Wales 2011/12

Home Office, Ministry of Justice and Office for National Statistics, 2013, ‘An overview of sexual offending in England and Wales

Millard, B. and Flatley, J. (Eds), ‘Experimental statistics on victimisation of children aged 10 to 15: Findings from the British Crime Survey for the year ending December 2009’, Home Office Statistical Bulletin 10/11

Ministry of Justice, 2013, ‘Criminal justice statistics quarterly update to June 2013

National Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), 2014, ‘Sexual abuse of under 11s: reports to police rise 16% in 2012-13

National Statistician, 2011, ‘National Statistician’s Review of crime statistics for England and Wales

Nottingham Post, 2013, ‘Nottingham Co-op stores to get tough on shoplifters

Office for National Statistics, 2012, ‘Trends in crime – A short story 2011/12

Office for National Statistics, 2013a, ‘Analysis of variation in crime trends: A study of trends in ‘comparable crime’ categories between the Crime Survey of England and Wales and the police recorded crime series between 1981 and 2011/12

Office for National Statistics, 2013b, ‘Focus on Property Crime, 2011/12

Office for National Statistics, 2013c, ‘Focus on: Violent Crime and Sexual Offences, 2011/12

Office for National Statistics, 2013d, ‘Future dissemination strategy: Summary of responses

Office for National Statistics, 2013e, ‘Presentational changes to National Statistics on police recorded crime implemented in ‘Crime in England and Wales, year ending March 2013

Office for National Statistics, 2013f, ‘Short Story on Anti-Social Behaviour, 2011/12

Office for National Statistics, 2013g, ‘User Guide to Crime Statistics for England and Wales

Public Administration Committee, 2013, ‘Crime Statistics, HC760: Evidence heard, Questions 1-135

Public Administration Committee, 2014, ‘Crime Statistics, HC760: Evidence heard, Questions 284-462

Sivarajasingam, V., Wells, J.P., Moore, S., Page, N., Morgan, P., Matthews, K., and Shepherd, J.P., 2012, ‘Violence in England and Wales in 2012: An Accident and Emergency Perspective

Smith, K., Osborne, S., Lau, I. and Britton, A., 2012, ‘Homicides, firearm offences and intimate violence 2010 to 2011: supplementary volume 2 to crime in England and Wales 2010/11’, Home Office Statistical Bulletin 2011/12

TNS BMRB, 2012, ‘The 2012/13 Crime Survey for England and Wales: Technical Report, Volume One

UK Cards Association, 2012, ‘Plastic fraud figures

UK Statistics Authority, 2014, ‘Assessment of compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics: Statistics on Crime in England and Wales

International and UK comparisons

There are currently no recognised international standards for crime recording and international comparisons are limited due to the differing legal systems which underpin crime statistics and processes for collecting and recording crimes.

Crimes recorded by the police

The system for recording crime in England and Wales by the police is widely recognised by international standards to be one of the best in the world. Few other jurisdictions have attempted to develop such a standardised approach to crime recording and some of those that have base their approach on the England and Wales model (for example, Australia, Northern Ireland). Thus, it is difficult to make international comparisons of levels of recorded crime given the lack of consistency in definitions, legal systems and police/criminal justice recording practices.

The legal system in Northern Ireland is based on that of England and Wales and the Police Service for Northern Ireland (PSNI) has the same notifiable offence list for recorded crime as used in England and Wales. In addition, the PSNI has adopted the National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS) and Home Office Counting Rules for recorded crime that applies in England and Wales. Thus there is broad comparability between the recorded crime statistics in Northern Ireland and England and Wales.

However, recorded crime statistics for England and Wales are not directly comparable with those in Scotland. The recorded crime statistics for Scotland are collected on the basis of the Scottish Crime Recording Standard, which was introduced in 2004. Like its counterpart in England and Wales, it aims to give consistency in crime recording. The main principles of the Scottish Crime Recording Standard itself are similar to the National Crime Recording Standard for England/Wales with regard to when a crime should be recorded.

However, there are differences between the respective counting rules. For example, the ‘Principal Crime Rule’ in England and Wales states that if a sequence of crimes in an incident, or alternatively a complex crime, contains more than one crime type, then the most serious crime should be counted. For example, an incident where an intruder breaks into a home and assaults the sole occupant would be recorded as two crimes in Scotland, while in England and Wales it would be recorded as one crime.

Differences in legislation and common law have also to be taken into account when comparing the crime statistics for England/Wales and Scotland.

Victimisation surveys

A number of countries run their own national victimisation surveys and they all broadly follow a similar model to the CSEW in attempting to obtain information from a representative sample of the population resident in households about their experience of criminal victimisation. The US National Crime and Victimisation Survey (NCVS) is the longest running, being established in 1973 and there are similar surveys in other countries including Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden and New Zealand. However, while these surveys have a similar objective they are not conducted using a standard methodology. Sampling (frames and of households/individuals) and modes of interview (for example face to face interviewing, telephone interviewing, self-completion via the web) differ, as do the crime reference periods (last 5 years, last 12 months, last calendar year) over which respondents are asked about their victimisation experience. Similarly, there is a lack of standardisation in question wording and order. Response rates vary considerably across the world, as do methods to adjust for any resulting possible non-response bias; therefore, it becomes extremely difficult to make valid comparisons between the surveys.

There have been attempts in the past to run international surveys on a standard basis and the International Crime and Victimisation Survey (ICVS) was initiated by a group of European criminologists with expertise in national crime surveys. The survey aimed to produce estimates of victimisation that could be used for international comparisons. The first survey was run in 1989 and was repeated in 1992, 1996 and 2004/5. All surveys were based upon a 2,000 sample of the population and in most country surveys were carried out with computer-assisted telephone interviewing. A pilot ICVS-2, intended to test alternative and cheaper modes of data collection including self-completion via the web, was carried out in a limited number of countries in 2010.

However, despite the attempt to obtain standardised and comparable approach to all of the surveys, this was never successfully achieved. While a standard questionnaire was employed in all countries, alongside a standard mode of interviewing, important differences remained in the approach to sampling, translation of questions into different national languages, interview lengths and response rates which make comparisons problematic.

Both Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own separate victimisation surveys that, like the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW), complement their recorded crime figures.

The Northern Ireland Crime Survey (NICS) closely mirrors the format and content of the CSEW employing a very similar methodology with continuous interviewing, a face to face interview with nationally representative sample of adults (16 years and over) using a similar set of questions. Thus results from the two surveys are broadly comparable.

The Scottish Crime and Justice Survey also follow a similar format to the Crime Survey for England and Wales, having a shared antecedence in the British Crime Survey (whose sample during some rounds of the survey in the 1980s covered Scotland, south of the Caledonian Canal). There are differences in the crimes/offence classifications to reflect the differing legal systems but the results from the surveys are broadly comparable.

Background notes

  1. The Crime in England and Wales quarterly releases are produced in partnership with the Home Office who collate and quality assure the police recorded crime data presented in the bulletins. Home Office colleagues also quality assurance the overall content of the bulletin.

  2. National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from any political interference.

  3. Next quarterly publication: April 2014.

    Future thematic report due to be published:

    Focus on Violent Crime and Sexual Offences: Findings from the 2012/13 Crime Survey for England and Wales and Police Recorded Crime: February 2014

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    Contact Name   John Flatley

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    Email: crimestatistics@ons.gsi.gov.uk

    Website: www.ons.gov.uk

  4. Details of policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/assessment/code-of-practice/index.html or from the Media Relations Office email: media.relations@ons.gsi.gov.uk

    The United Kingdom Statistics Authority has designated this statistical bulletin as a National Statistics output, in accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 and signifying compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

    Designation can be broadly interpreted to mean that the statistics:

    • meet identified user needs;

    • are well explained and readily accessible;

    • are produced according to sound methods; and

    • are managed impartially and objectively in the public interest.

    • Once statistics have been designated as National Statistics it is a statutory requirement that the Code of Practice shall continue to be observed.

    However, statistics based on police recorded crime data have been assessed against the Code of Practice for Official Statistics and found not to meet the required standard for designation as National Statistics. The full assessment report can be found on the UK Statistics Authority website. 

    Copyright

    © Crown copyright 2014

    You may re-use this information (not including logos) free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open Government Licence. To view this licence, go to: The National Archives or write to the Information Policy Team, The National Archives, Kew, London TW9 4DU Email: psi@nationalarchives.gsi.gov.uk

  5. Pre-release access list: Crime in England and Wales, Year Ending September 2013

  6. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/assessment/code-of-practice/index.html or from the Media Relations Office email: media.relations@ons.gsi.gov.uk

    The United Kingdom Statistics Authority has designated these statistics as National Statistics, in accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 and signifying compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

    Designation can be broadly interpreted to mean that the statistics:

    • meet identified user needs;
    • are well explained and readily accessible;
    • are produced according to sound methods; and
    • are managed impartially and objectively in the public interest.

    Once statistics have been designated as National Statistics it is a statutory requirement that the Code of Practice shall continue to be observed.

Statistical contacts

Name Phone Department Email
John Flatley +44 (0)20 75928695 ONS crimestatistics@ons.gsi.gov.uk
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