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Statistical bulletin: Crime in England and Wales, Quarterly First Release to December 2011 This product is designated as National Statistics

Released: 19 April 2012 Download PDF

Key points

  • The latest figures from the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW; formerly known as the British Crime Survey) show no statistically significant change in overall crime while the number of crimes recorded by the police fell by 3 per cent in the year ending December 2011 compared with the same period in 2010. These findings continue recent trends with CSEW crime remaining fairly flat since 2004/05 and recorded crime showing small year on year reductions.
  • While there has not been a rise in overall crime from either source, there have been increases in some sub-categories. The police recorded a 5 per cent increase in the other theft group (driven by theft of unattended property, theft from the person and bicycle theft) and a 3 per cent increase in robbery. The rise in other theft reflected increases across many forces in England and Wales whereas the rise in robbery was driven by a rise in the Metropolitan police force area.
  • Generally, other categories of acquisitive crime have not shown increases. Police recorded crime figures showed a fall of 3 per cent in domestic burglaries compared with the previous year and no change in other burglaries, while the fairly flat trend seen in burglary measured by the CSEW since 2005 has continued, with a non-statistically significant change year on year. The number of offences against vehicles recorded by the police continues to fall while estimates of vehicle-related theft from the CSEW show no statistically significant change.
  • Levels of violent crime estimated by the CSEW showed no statistically significant change compared with the previous year. Police recorded violence against the person fell by 7 per cent, with similar falls in both violence with and without injury.
  • Both series showed continued year on year falls in vandalism offences: the CSEW showed a 14 per cent fall in vandalism while the police recorded 9 per cent fewer criminal damage offences.

Introduction

In 2011 the Home Secretary accepted a recommendation from the National Statistician that future responsibility for the publication of crime statistics for England and Wales should transfer from the Home Office to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) from 1 April 2012. This release represents the first such publication from the ONS. To provide continuity for users of these statistics, the same outputs previously produced by the Home Office are provided with this initial release. However, changes are planned for future releases and details will be made available to users for comment in due course.

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. By presenting findings from the two series together we aim to present a fuller picture of crime in England and Wales. This series of first releases focuses on the latest figures and medium-term trends. Further discussion of long-term trends can be found in ‘Crime in England and Wales 2010/11’ (Chaplin et al., 2011). For detailed information about the statistical sources used here, refer to the User Guide to Crime Statistics for England and Wales (ONS, 2012)1.

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. For the crime types and population groups it covers, the CSEW provides a more reliable measure of trends in crime than police recorded crime statistics, as it has a consistent methodology and is unaffected by changes in levels of reporting to the police, recording practice or police activity. The survey does not aim to provide an absolute count of crime in England and Wales, but to provide robust trends for the crime types and population it covers2. It also gives better coverage of crimes that tend to go unreported, such as theft from the person and vandalism3.

Recorded crime figures relate to crimes recorded by the police in England and Wales in the 12 months to December 2011. Unlike the CSEW, they do not include crimes that have not been reported to the police or those that the police decide not to record, but they do cover crimes against those aged under 16, organisations such as businesses, and crimes ‘against the state’ ie with no immediate victim, for example, possession of drugs.  For more details on the differences between the two sources, please see the Further Information section.

Notes

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

2. CSEW interviews are not conducted with people living in communal establishments such as prisons or old peoples’ homes. Estimates presented in this first release, however are adjusted to cover all people, not just those living in households. 

3. For more information on reporting rates, see Chaplin et al., 2011     

Summary

This bulletin contains findings from police recorded crime figures and the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW), formerly known as the British Crime Survey. Based on interviews in the year ending December 2011, there was no statistically significant change in the estimated total of crimes compared with the 2010 survey. The number of crimes recorded by the police fell by 3 per cent in the year ending December 2011 compared with the same period in 2010.

The CSEW showed a statistically significant decrease of 5 per cent in crimes against households in the 2011 survey compared to 2010. The apparent increase of 8 per cent in the number of offences against adults (personal crime) was not statistically significant; although the increase in the proportion who were victims of personal crime (from 5.5 to 6.0 per cent) was significant.

While there has not been a general rise in acquisitive crime from either source since 2005, there is evidence of increases in some specific sub-categories, such as a 5 per cent increase in the other theft group of police recorded offences (driven by theft of unattended property, theft from the person and bicycle theft) in 2011 compared with 2010. The CSEW also shows a 13 per cent increase in personal acquisitive crime (which includes crimes such as pick-pocketing and theft of unattended property) based on interviews from 2011 compared with 2010. The number of offences against vehicles recorded by the police continues to fall while estimates of vehicle-related theft from the CSEW show no statistically significant change.

The fairly flat trend seen in burglary measured by the CSEW since 2005 has continued, with a non-statistically significant increase of 1 per cent in the estimate of domestic burglaries in 2011. Police recorded crime figures showed a fall of 3 per cent in domestic burglaries compared with the previous year; but no change in the number of other burglaries.

Police recorded robbery offences increased by 3 per cent, driven by a rise in the Metropolitan police force area.

Levels of violent crime estimated by the CSEW showed no statistically significant change in 2011 compared with the previous year, or with any year since 2005. Police recorded violence against the person fell by 7 per cent in 2011, with similar falls in violence with and without injury.

Both series showed falls in vandalism offences. From data collected in the year ending December 2011, vandalism measured by the CSEW decreased by 14 per cent. Police recorded criminal damage offences decreased by 9 per cent.

Levels of crime: tables and charts

The following charts and tables show offences measured by either the CSEW or police recorded crime. The ‘Levels of crime: overall’ section discusses the overall patterns in crime, while the ‘Levels of crime: by offence’ section comments on specific types of offences.

 

Figure 1 Percentage change in CSEW crime based on interviews in the year to December 2011 compared with the previous year

England and Wales

Percentage change in CSEW crime based on interviews
Source: Crime Survey for England and Wales - Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Changes in figure 1 which are statistically significant at the 5 per cent level are indicated by a fully shaded bar. Other apparent changes are not statistically significant at the 5 per cent level. Statistical significance for the change in all CSEW crime cannot be calculated in the same way as for other CSEW figures (a method based on approximation is used). See Section 8 of the User Guide (ONS, 2012) for more information on statistical significance.

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Figure 2 Percentage change in numbers of recorded crimes in the year to December 2011 compared with the previous year

England and Wales

Percentage change in numbers of recorded crimes

Notes:

  1. Source: Police Recorded Crime - Home Office

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Table 1 Estimated number of crimes, based on Crime Survey for England and Wales interviews in the year to December 2011 compared with the previous year

England and Wales, adults aged 16 and over

Numbers of incidents (000s) and percentage changes1
  Interviews from Jan to Dec 2010 Interviews from Jan to Dec 2011 % change between years Statistically significant change2
Household Crime        
Vandalism 2,261 1,948 -14 **
Burglary 724 731 1  
Vehicle-related theft 1,168 1,197 2  
Bicycle theft 526 429 -18 **
Other household theft 1,212 1,303 8  
         
Household acquisitive crime 3,630 3,660 1  
         
All Household Crime 5,891 5,608 -5 **
         
Unweighted base - household crime 45,838 46,732    
         
Personal Crime        
Theft from the person 538 598 11  
Other theft of personal property 945 1,078 14  
All violence 2,031 2,126 5  
with injury 1,098 1,122 2  
without injury 933 1,004 8  
         
Personal acquisitive crime 1,709 1,922 13 **
         
All Personal Crime 3,514 3,801 8  
         
Unweighted base - personal crime 45,862 46,761    
         
All CSEW Crime 9,405 9,409 0  

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. A percentage change of less than 0.5 is shown as 0
  2. Statistically significant change at the 5 per cent level is indicated by a double asterisk. Statistical significance for change in all CSEW crime cannot be calculated in the same way as for other CSEW figures (a method based on approximation is used). See Section 8 of the User Guide for more information on statistical significance.
  3. For more information about the crime types included in this table, see Section 5 of the User Guide.
  4. Data for January to December 2010 may differ from previous estimates, owing to the use of revised population estimates.

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Table 2 Recorded crimes in the year to December 2011 compared with the previous year

England and Wales

Numbers and percentage changes
Offence group 12 months to Dec 2010 12 months to Dec 2011 % change between years
       
Violence against the person offences 833,081 775,345 -7
Violence against the person - with injury2 373,568 346,196 -7
Violence against the person - without injury3 459,513 429,149 -7
       
Sexual offences 54,562 54,794 0
Most serious sexual crime 44,659 45,691 2
Other sexual offences  9,903 9,103 -8
       
Robbery offences 75,155 77,248 3
Robbery of business property 7,919 7,060 -11
Robbery of personal property 67,236 70,188 4
       
       
Burglary offences 519,388 512,269 -1
Burglary in a dwelling 257,869 250,754 -3
Burglary in a building other than a dwelling 261,519 261,515 0
       
Offences against vehicles 456,388 425,754 -7
Theft or unauthorised taking of a motor vehicle 107,401 97,141 -10
Theft from a vehicle 317,819 302,500 -5
Interfering with a motor vehicle 31,168 26,113 -16
       
Other theft offences4 1,057,674 1,108,898 5
of which:      
Theft from the person 90,815 99,470 10
Theft or unauthorised taking of a pedal cycle 106,697 114,046 7
       
Fraud and forgery offences 148,137 142,991 -3
       
Criminal damage offences 714,863 651,541 -9
       
TOTAL PROPERTY CRIME 2,896,450 2,841,453 -2
       
       
Drug offences 231,929 232,834 0
       
Other miscellaneous offences 68,376 61,665 -10
       
       
TOTAL RECORDED CRIME - ALL OFFENCES 4,159,553 4,043,339 -3
of which:  Firearm offences5 7,431 6,176 -17

Table source: Home Office

Table notes:

  1. Police recorded crime statistics based on data from all 44 forces in England and Wales (including the British Transport Police). 
  2. Includes homicide, 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.  
  3. 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).
  4. Other theft includes a range of offences, including shoplifting and abstraction of electricity.  The two sub-headings given here are provided for comparison purposes as they correspond to CSEW categories.
  5. Firearm offences 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.

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Table 3 Estimated proportion of adults/households who were victims of crime in the 12 months before interview, based on CSEW interviews in the year to December 2011 compared with the previous year

England and Wales, adults aged 16 and over

Proportion who were a victim once or more; and percentage point change1
  Interviews from Jan to Dec 2010 Interviews from Jan to Dec 2011 Percentage point change between years  Statistically significant change2
Household Crime        
Vandalism 6.3 5.7 -0.7 **
Burglary 2.5 2.4 -0.1  
Vehicle-related theft3 5.4 5.4 0.1  
Bicycle theft4 4.3 3.3 -0.9 **
Other household theft 4.0 4.3 0.3  
         
Household acquisitive crime 11.5 11.5 0.0  
         
All Household Crime 16.4 16.0 -0.5  
         
Unweighted base - household crime 45,838 46,732    
         
Personal Crime        
Theft from the person 1.1 1.2 0.2  
Other theft of personal property 1.8 2.1 0.2 **
All violence 2.9 3.1 0.2  
with injury 1.6 1.7 0.1  
without injury 1.4 1.5 0.1  
         
Personal acquisitive crime 3.3 3.7 0.4 **
         
All Personal Crime 5.5 6.0 0.5 **
         
Unweighted base - personal crime 45,862 46,761    
         
All CSEW Crime 21.4 21.2 -0.1  

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. A discrepancy may appear between trends in number of crimes and risk of being a victim (the proportion of the population victimised once or more) due to repeat victimisation.
  2. Statistically significant change at the 5 per cent level is indicated by a double asterisk. Statistical significance for change in all CSEW crime cannot be calculated in the same way as for other CSEW figures (a method based on approximation is used). See Section 8 of the User Guide for more information on statistical significance.
  3. The proportion for vehicle-related theft is based only on households owning, or with regular use of, a vehicle. It includes theft of vehicles, theft from vehicles and attempted theft of and from vehicles.
  4. The proportion for bicycle theft is based only on households owning a bicycle.
  5. For more information about the crime types included in this table, see Section 5 of the User Guide.
  6. Data for January to December 2010 may differ from previous estimates, owing to the use of revised population estimates.

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Levels of crime: overall

Table 1 shows that there was no statistically significant1 change in the level of CSEW crime, based on interviews in the year to December 2011 compared with 2010. Table 2 shows that the overall level of notifiable2 crime recorded by the police, however, decreased by 3 per cent in 2011 compared with the previous year. These latest figures represent a continuation of recent trends with overall crime measured by the survey remaining fairly flat since 2004/05 while the police recorded crime continues to show small year on year reductions which have been evident in recent years.

Police recorded crime figures in the publication include the month of August 2011 when there were disturbances in a number of urban areas in England. At the national level the impact on police recorded figures was small3.

The CSEW provides separate estimates for crimes against people and crimes against households. Table 1 shows that CSEW estimates from interviews in the year to December 2011 show a decrease of 5 per cent in crimes against households, compared with the previous year. Table 3 shows that, based on interviews in that period, 16 per cent of households were a victim of one or more household crimes, a similar level to the previous year. Figure B6 (in Annex B) shows that there has been a modest downward trend in household crime since 2006. Both the recent and medium term reduction in household crime has been driven by reductions in vandalism.

The overall estimate of CSEW personal crime showed an apparent increase (8 per cent) which was not statistically significant on the figure for the previous year. Table 3 shows that an estimated 6 per cent of all adults (aged 16 or over) were victims of one or more CSEW personal crimes (up from 5.5 per cent in the previous year- a statistically significant increase). The medium-term trend is fairly flat and the estimated number of personal crime incidents, at 3.8 million, was broadly similar to levels seen in 2007 (Annex B, figure B10).

Notes for Levels of crime: overall

  1. See Section 8 of the User Guide for more information on statistical significance.
  2. Notifiable offences include all offences 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.
  3. Annex B of the previous release ‘Crime in England and Wales: Quarterly Update to September 2011’ (Home Office, 2012a), outlines the impact the recording of these events had on police recorded crime statistics.

Levels of crime: by offence

Theft (CSEW and recorded crime)

While neither series shows an increase in overall levels of crime, both sources provide evidence of an increase in some of the theft-related offence groups. For example, the police recorded crime category of other theft showed a 5 per cent increase in the year ending December 2011. This increase was driven by rises in theft of unattended property (including both offences against individuals and against organisations) and, to a lesser extent, theft from the person and bicycle theft. This offence group makes up more than a quarter of all police recorded crime and the rise in this category is evident in most forces. Recent patterns suggest a slow, steady increase in this group of theft offences over the past two years.

Police recorded figures for theft from the person (for example pick-pocketing) show a 10 per cent increase comparing 2011 with 2010. These latest figures represent the largest year-on-year increase in these offences since 2002; and represent a return to roughly 2008 levels of these offences, following a substantial decrease between 2004 and 2008.

Other household theft in the CSEW showed no statistically significant change based on interviews in 2011 compared with 2010. While the individual year on year changes have not been statistically significant, however, figure B5 suggests an upward trend over the past two years. This offence group consists of items stolen from outside the victim’s home, for example from the garden. It also includes burglaries of non-connected buildings, such as sheds, and thefts in the victim’s dwelling by someone entitled to be there, for example a workman.

Personal acquisitive crime in the CSEW showed a 13 per cent increase in the 12 months to December 2011 compared with a year earlier. This group combines robberies (and attempted robberies) with the more common categories of theft from the person and other theft of personal property (ie theft of unattended property).

Examining trends in the offence categories which make up CSEW personal acquisitive crime suggests that there is not a consistent increase in the crimes that make up this offence group. The apparent increases in theft from the person (11 per cent) and other theft of personal property (14 per cent) are not statistically significant and medium-term trends (see figures B7 and B8) show a series of fluctuations, rather than a pattern of increases.

Vandalism and criminal damage (CSEW and recorded crime)

The two series are consistent in showing substantial falls in criminal damage/vandalism in data collected in the year to December 2011. Police recorded criminal damage showed a decrease of 9 per cent compared with the previous year and CSEW estimates of vandalism showed a fall of 14 per cent. There has been a downward trend in CSEW estimates of vandalism since 2006 (figure B1), and interviews in 2011 saw estimates fall below 2 million offences. The recorded crime series has shown a general pattern of year on year reductions in criminal damage since 2003/04.

Burglary (CSEW and recorded crime)

There was no statistically significant change in levels of domestic burglaries estimated from the CSEW (the 1 per cent rise was not statistically significant), based on interviews in 2011. Despite some apparent fluctuations from year to year, the underlying trend has remained fairly flat in the CSEW since 2005 (figure B2). Where recent releases have shown apparent increases in burglary these have resulted from figures being compared with some unusually low burglary estimates in 2009.

Comparing 2011 with 2010, police recorded domestic burglaries decreased by 3 per cent. This is consistent with the steady, downward trend in police recorded burglary in a dwelling that has been occurring since 2002/03. There was no change in other burglaries (which includes those against businesses) recorded by the police.

Vehicle theft (CSEW and recorded crime)

The CSEW showed no significant change in vehicle-related theft (the apparent increase of 2 per cent was not statistically significant) based on interviews from 2011. It is too early to say whether this represents a flattening out of the downward trend that has occurred since 2005 (figure B3). Police recorded crime figures showed a fall of 7 per cent in the offence group of offences against vehicles in 2011. All three categories of police recorded offences against vehicles fell, with interfering with a motor vehicle falling by 16 per cent.

Bicycle theft (CSEW and recorded crime)

Bicycle thefts recorded by the police rose by 7 per cent in 2011, with increases recorded in most police force areas. The number of incidents of CSEW bicycle theft, based on interviews from the year to December 2011, decreased by 18 per cent. This is one of the lower volume CSEW offence groups, and can show large fluctuations year to year. Figure B4 shows the CSEW estimate for 2011 returning to levels of bicycle crime seen in 2005-07, after higher estimated levels in 2008-10.

Robbery (recorded crime1)

Robbery offences recorded by the police showed an overall 3 per cent rise in the 12 months ending December 2011 compared with 2010 (from 75,155 to 77,248 offences). Within this offence group, robbery of personal property increased by 4 per cent, while robbery of business property fell by 11 per cent. Since 2008, however, the general trend in police recorded robberies has remained fairly flat.

It is important to note that robbery is an offence which is concentrated in metropolitan areas, with over 50 per cent of offences in the last year being recorded in London alone. Thus national trends tend to reflect what is happening in a small number of forces and a breakdown by force2 shows the national increase has been driven by a 13 per cent rise in the Metropolitan Police force area between 2010 and 2011. This increase, at over 4,000 offences, was more than twice the volume of the national increase, and so outside London many forces have actually recorded small reductions in robberies over the same period. Some other metropolitan forces showed decreases in robberies in 2011, notably decreases of 5 per cent in the West Midlands and 13 per cent in Greater Manchester.

Some 23 per cent of robberies recorded by the police in 2011 involved a knife or other sharp instrument. Comparing 2011 with 2010 (excluding West Midlands Police, where reporting practices have changed3), the number of robberies involving knives showed a larger proportional increase, at 9 per cent, than for robberies overall (3 per cent). More details are presented in Annex A.

Violence (CSEW and recorded crime)

CSEW interviews for the 12 months ending December 2011 showed no statistically significant change in the levels of violence compared with 2010 (the apparent 5 per cent increase was not statistically significant). Put in the context of a time series (figure B9), the trend has been fairly flat since 2008, and the 2011 estimates are not statistically significantly different from estimates since 2005.

The level of violence against the person4 recorded by the police in 2011, however, showed a 7 per cent fall, compared with the previous year. Both violence with and without injury decreased by 7 per cent. This is consistent with the downward trend shown in the number of police recorded violence against the person crimes in the past five years.

Sexual offences (recorded crime)

Police recorded crime provides information on a number of types of crime that, while serious, are low in relative volume and thus difficult to measure reliably in a sample survey, such as the CSEW. An example is sexual offences where the police recorded an increase of less than 0.5 per cent in 2011 compared with 2010. Within this category, however, most serious sexual crimes increased by 2 per cent. This continues the pattern of increases in recording of such crimes seen since 2009, although the rate of increase appears to be slowing. It is known that a high proportion of sexual offences are not reported to the police and increases in recorded figures may represent improved reporting rates rather than increased victimisation. For these reasons, caution should be used when interpreting trends in these offences (for more information see Chaplin et al., 2011). Other sexual offences recorded by the police decreased by 8 per cent comparing 2011 and 2010.

Firearms (recorded crime, special collection)

Table 2 shows provisional figures for firearm offences5 recorded by the police, which accounted for less than 0.2 per cent of all recorded crime in 2011. There was a 17 per cent fall in firearm offences from 7,431 to 6,176 between 2010 and 2011 continuing the general downward trend seen in such offences since 2004/05 (Smith et al., 2012).

Drugs (recorded crime)

Drug offences recorded by the police increased by less than 0.5 per cent in 2011 compared with the previous year. These recorded crime statistics are heavily influenced by policing priorities, and may reflect changes in the policing of drug crime rather than real changes in its incidence. The CSEW is used to monitor trends in drug use among the household population and figures are published annually (for more information see, Smith and Flatley, 2011).

Fraud and forgery (recorded crime)

Fraud and forgery offences recorded by the police showed a 3 per cent fall in 2011, compared with a year earlier. Fraud offences are known to be substantially under-reported to the police and are not covered in the main CSEW crime count. Supplementary questions from the CSEW, together with figures supplied by the financial industry provide a more comprehensive picture as to the scale and trend of fraudulent transactions (for more information see Chaplin et al., 2011). New questions on other aspects of fraud have been developed and were added to the CSEW from April 20116.

Other offences (recorded crime)

Crime figures recorded by the police includes an ‘other miscellaneous offences’ category. This constitutes less than 2 per cent of all recorded crime, and contains a variety of offences from those against the state to perverting the course of justice, and going equipped for stealing. The latest figures show a year on year reduction of 10 per cent in these offences (table 2).

Notes for Levels of crime: by offence

  1. Statistics on robberies measured by the CSEW are only presented annually - see Chaplin et al., 2011.
  2. Robberies broken down by police force are found on the ONS website.
  3. Recording practice in West Midlands Police changed during the comparison period. See Annex A for further details.
  4. Unlike the CSEW measure of violence, police recorded violence against the person does not include sexual offences or robbery but does include a range of state based offences such as possession of weapons. Refer to section 5 of the User Guide for more information regarding coverage of crime measures.
  5. These firearm offences cover those where a firearm has been fired, used as a blunt instrument against a person or used as a threat. These figures exclude offences involving air weapons.
  6. Data from these questions will be available in the second half of 2012.

Public Perceptions (CSEW)

Anti-social behaviour

Table 4 shows that, based on CSEW interviews in 2011, the proportion of people who perceived a high level of anti-social behaviour (ASB) in their local area remained at 14 per cent. Of the seven indicators that make up the composite measure, one showed a statistically significant decrease compared with the previous year: ‘teenagers hanging around’ (from 26 to 25 per cent). The rest showed no statistically significant changes.

Table 4 Anti-social behaviour indicators

England and Wales, adults aged 16 and over

Percentages
  Interviews from Jan to Dec 2010 Interviews from Jan to Dec 2011 Statistically significant change1
       
High level of perceived anti-social behaviour2 14 14  
       
Percentage saying very/fairly big problem in their area:    
       
Abandoned or burnt-out cars 4 4  
Noisy neighbours or loud parties 11 12  
People being drunk or rowdy in public places 24 24  
People using or dealing drugs 26 27  
Teenagers hanging around on the streets 26 25 **
Rubbish or litter lying around 28 29  
Vandalism, graffiti and other deliberate damage to property 22 21  
       
Unweighted base3 43,333 27,781  

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Statistically significant change at the five per cent level is indicated by a double asterisk. For more information on statistical significance, see Section 8 of the User Guide.
  2. This measure is derived from responses to the seven individual anti-social behaviour strands reported in the table.
  3. Unweighted base refers to high level of perceived anti-social behaviour. Bases for each individual strand will be similar. From April 2011, the number of respondents asked questions about their perceptions of ASB has been reduced from a full-sample to a half-sample.

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Worry about crime

The CSEW measures the proportion of adults with a high level of worry about burglary, car crime and violent crime. Table 5 shows that, based on the CSEW interviews during 2011, there were no statistically significant changes compared with the previous 12 months.

Table 5 Worry about crime

England and Wales, adults aged 16 and over

Percentages
  Interviews from Jan to Dec 2010 Interviews from Jan to Dec 2011 Statistically significant change1
       
Percentage with high level of worry about2    
       
Burglary 10 11  
Car crime 10 10  
Violent crime 13 14  
       
Unweighted base3 11,421 11,726  

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Statistically significant change at the 5% level is indicated by a double asterisk. For more information on statistical significance, see Section 8 of the User Guide.
  2. For more information about the worry about crime measures in this table, see Section 6 of the User Guide.
  3. Unweighted base refers to high levels of worry about burglary. Bases for violent crime will be similar but for car crime they will be slightly lower as these are based only on those residing in households owning, or with regular use of, a vehicle.

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Confidence in the police and the Criminal Justice System (CJS)

All but one public confidence measure included in table 6 showed statistically significant increases between 2011 and 2010. The proportion of people who thought that the police in their local area were doing a good or excellent job showed an increase from 58 per cent to 61 per cent. There was a similar percentage point increase in the proportion of people who agreed that the police were dealing with the things that matter to people in the community from 57 per cent in 2010 to 61 per cent in December 2011.

The proportion of people agreeing that the Criminal Justice System (CJS) as a whole was effective increased by a smaller, but still statistically significant, amount over the same period, from 42 per cent to 44 per cent. More detailed information on public perceptions of the police is available in Chapter 5 of Chaplin et al., (2011) and Moon and Flatley et al. (2011).

The largest increase in table 6 was in the proportion of people who agreed that that the police and local council were dealing with anti social behaviour and crime issues that matter in the local area which increased from 52 per cent in 2010 to 59 per cent in 2011. While this measure has been increasing gradually in recent years, (see figure 5.4 Chaplin et al., 2011), there is, strong evidence that increases are due to questionnaire changes incorporated in April 2011.

Table 6 Confidence in the police and CJS

England and Wales, adults aged 16 and over

Percentages
  Interviews from Jan to Dec 2010 Interviews from Jan to Dec 2011 Statistically significant change
Percentage agreeing1      
       
Police and local council are dealing with the anti-social behaviour and crime issues that matter in the local area 52 59 **2
       
Unweighted base 44,540 45,384  
       
Police in the local area doing a good or excellent job 58 61 **
Police are dealing with the things that matter to people in the community 57 61 **
       
Unweighted base3 44,796 45,651  
       
Percentage confident4      
       
The CJS as a whole is effective 42 44 **
The CJS as a whole is fair 61 62  
       
Unweighted base5 44,201 28,323  

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Percentage saying they 'strongly agree' or 'tend to agree'.
  2. Caution should be used in interpreting changes in these figures around April 2011 - see commentary for more information.
  3. Unweighted base refers to police doing a good or excellent job. Base for the other measure will be similar.
  4. Percentage saying they are 'very confident' or 'fairly confident'.
  5. Unweighted base refers to effectiveness of the CJS. Base for the other measure will be similar. From April 2011, the number of respondents asked questions relating to their perceptions of the CJS has been reduced from a full sample to a half sample.

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Analysis of the underlying monthly figures shows a step change between March and April 2011 in this measure which coincides with changes made to the CSEW questionnaire. This suggests that the increase may be a result of changes to the questionnaire (for example, a change in the questions immediately preceding these questions in the survey) rather than to a change in people’s confidence in the police.

Figure 3 illustrates this by presenting all of the measures on confidence by police by quarter. It can be seen that the proportion of people who agreed that the police and local council were dealing with anti-social behaviour and crime issues that matter in their area rose from 52 per cent in the period January to March 2011, to 60 per cent in the period April to June 2011 and then remained stable for the remainder of 2011.

Further analysis is being undertaken of all three measures to investigate this issue and in the meantime caution should be used in interpreting year on year changes.

Figure 3 Confidence in the police, by interview quarter

England and Wales

Confidence in the police
Source: Crime Survey for England and Wales - Office for National Statistics

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Annex A: Violent and sexual offences involving the use of knives and other sharp instruments

Table A1 shows that, in 2011, the police recorded 32,587 offences involving a knife or sharp instrument. Because recording practices in the West Midlands changed in 2010/11, the knife and sharp instrument offences data reported in the remainder of this section exclude that police force, in order to provide consistent comparisons over time. Overall, there was a 2 per cent increase in the level of offences involving a knife or sharp instrument compared with 2010.

Analysis of selected individual offence groups shows robbery offences involving the use of a knife or sharp instrument increased by 9 per cent over the last year, from 14,246 to 15,552. This kind of fluctuation is not unusual, however, given its relatively low volumes. Only three offence groups in table 2 above contain fewer offences than robberies involving a knife or sharp instrument and so large percentage changes year-to-year are to be expected. All robberies increased by 3 per cent comparing 2011 with 2010, and robberies involving a knife or sharp instrument made up some 23 per cent of the total.

In contrast, there was a fall in the other main component of knife crime: grievous and actual bodily harm offences involving a knife. These offences decreased by 4 per cent (from 12,987 to 12,442). The much smaller offence group of threats to kill involving a knife decreased substantially (down 15 per cent, from 1,443 to 1,223).

The relatively low number of homicides, attempted murders, rapes and sexual assaults that involve the use of a knife or sharp instrument means that care should be taken when comparing these figures over time, as large apparent percentage changes can relate to only small year-on-year variations in numbers rather than longer-term trends. Top level figures are:

  • provisional data show that there were 211 knife or sharp instrument homicides in 2011, compared with 204 the previous year

  • there were 213 knife or sharp instrument attempted murders in 2011 compared with 206 in 2010. Just over half of all attempted murders (some 51 per cent) in 2011 involved the use of a knife or sharp instrument

The proportion of selected violent offences involving a knife or sharp instrument in 2011 (7 per cent) was one percentage point higher than in 2010 (6 per cent).

Table A Number and proportion of selected violent and sexual offences involving a knife or sharp instrument recorded by the police1

England and Wales2

Numbers and percentages
Selected offence type Number of selected offences involving a knife or sharp instrument3 % change year ending Dec 2010 to year ending Dec 2011 Proportion of selected offences involving a knife or sharp instrument
Year ending Dec 2010 Year ending Dec 2011 Year ending Dec 2010 Year ending Dec 2011
Excluding West Midlands4          
Attempted murder 206 213 3 46 51
Threats to kill 1,443 1,223 -15 15 16
Actual bodily harm & grievous bodily harm5 12,987 12,442 -4 4 4
Robbery 14,246 15,552 9 21 23
Rape 236 230 -3 2 1
Sexual assault6 82 82 0 0 0
           
Total selected offences 29,200 29,742 2 6 7
           
Homicide7 204 211 3 35 40
           
Total selected offences including homicide 29,404 29,953 2 6 7
           
Including West Midlands4          
Attempted murder 229 239 - 44 51
Threats to kill 1,508 1,251 - 15 16
Actual bodily harm & grievous bodily harm5 14,123 13,373 - 4 4
Robbery 15,957 17,173 - 21 22
Rape 250 246 - 2 1
Sexual assault6 87 85 - 0 0
           
Total selected offences 32,154 32,367 - 6 7
           
Homicide7 229 220 - 36 39
           
Total selected offences including homicide 32,383 32,587 - 7 6

Table source: Home Office

Table notes:

  1. 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.
  2. Includes British Transport Police.
  3. 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.
  4. Data are shown excluding West Midlands as West Midlands included unbroken bottle and glass offences in their returns until end of March 2010 but now exclude these offences in line with other forces (see the User Guide). As such, their 2010/11 data are not comparable with their data from earlier years.
  5. Includes wounding or carrying out an act endangering life.
  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 23 February 2012 and are subject to revision as cases are dealt with by the police and by the courts, or as further information becomes available.

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Notes

Changes to crime statistics

This quarterly first release, part of a series formerly published by the Home Office, is the first to be released by the ONS. In January 2011, the Home Secretary announced a Review of Crime Statistics to be undertaken by the National Statistician, Jil Matheson. On 6 June 2011, the National Statistician published her Review, a copy of which is available on the Statistics Authority website.

One of the eight recommendations was that responsibility for the publication of the crime statistics should move to an independent body (the ONS). It was also recommended that the ONS assume responsibility for the management of the British Crime Survey (since re-titled as the Crime Survey for England and Wales). The transfer of responsibilities to ONS took effect from 1 April 2012. Announcements regarding the future publication of the crime statistics will be made in due course.

The Government accepted the recommendations of the National Statistician in a Written Ministerial Statement.

British Crime Survey: change of name

The British Crime Survey is now known as the Crime Survey for England and Wales to better reflect its geographical coverage. While the survey did previously cover the whole of Great Britain it ceased to include Scotland in its sample in the late 1980s. There is a separate survey – the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey – covering Scotland. Given the transfer of responsibility for the survey to ONS, it was decided that the name change would take effect from 1 April 2012.

Data associated with the release

This first release shows national figures for 2011. Also available are:

  • National recorded crime data for individual quarters

  • Figures at police force area level. These statistics cover a range of recorded crime offence groups and CSEW findings on confidence in the police

  • Recorded crime figures on a rolling 12-month basis going back to 2002/03 at police force and local authority area level

All of the above can be accessed on the ONS website.

List of products

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

  1. Pre-April 2012 publications on the Home Office website

  2. Historic police recorded crime

  3. User Guide to Crime Statistics for England and Wales

  4. British Crime Survey 2010/11 Technical Report

  5. Crime in England and Wales 2010/11. Published 14 July 201

  6. Public perceptions of policing, engagement with police and victimisation: Findings from the 2010/11 British Crime Survey’ Supplementary Volume 1 to Crime in England and Wales 2010/11, Home Office Statistical Bulletin 18/11. Published 17 November 2011

  7. Homicides, Firearm Offences and Intimate Violence 2010/11’ Supplementary Volume 2 to Crime in England and Wales 2010/11, Home Office Statistical Bulletin 02/12. Published 19 January 2012

  8. Hate crime, cyber security and the experience of crime among children: Findings from the 2010/11 British Crime Survey’ Supplementary Volume 3 to Crime in England and Wales 2010/11, Home Office Statistical Bulletin 06/12. Published 29 March 2012

  9. National Statistician’s Review of Crime Statistics

  10. UK Data Archive

In addition to these National Statistics releases, provisional management information drawn from police recorded crime figures, published at street level each month, is available:

   11.  Police recorded crime, street level mapping tool

References

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

Home Office, 2012a, ‘Crime in England and Wales: Quarterly Update to September 2011’, Home Office Statistical Bulletin 01/12

Home Office, 2012b, ‘Hate crime, cyber security and the experience of crime among children: Findings from the 2010/11 British Crime Survey’ Supplementary Volume 3 to Crime in England and Wales 2010/11, Home Office Statistical Bulletin 06/12

Moon, D. and Flatley, J. (Eds), Parfrement-Hopkins, J., Hall, P., Hoare, J., Lau, I., and Innes, J., 2011, ‘Public perceptions of policing, engagement with police and victimisation: Findings from the 2010/11 British Crime Survey’ Supplementary Volume 1 to Crime in England and Wales 2010/11, Home Office Statistical Bulletin 18/11

National Statistician, 2011, ‘National Statistician’s Review of Crime Statistics: England and Wales

Office for National Statistics, 2012, ‘User Guide to Crime Statistics for England and Wales’

Smith, K. and Flatley, J. (Eds), 2011, ‘Drug Misuse Declared: Findings from the 2010/11 British Crime Survey’, Home Office Statistical Bulletin 12/11

Smith, K., Osborne, S., Lau, I., Britton, A., 2012, ‘Homicides, Firearm Offences and Intimate Violence 2010/11’ Supplementary Volume 2 to Crime in England and Wales 2010/11, Home Office Statistical Bulletin 02/12

Further information

The latest Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) figures presented in this release are based on interviews conducted in the year ending December 2011, measuring each respondent’s experiences of crime in the 12 months before the interview. It therefore covers a mix of crimes occurring in 2010 and 2011. Nine months of the data reported on here overlap with the data contained in the last bulletin produced by the Home Office (Home Office, 2012a). Recorded crime figures in this release relate to crimes recorded by the police in the year ending December 2011.

The CSEW

The CSEW does not cover all offences, with homicide, fraud and drug offences being notable exclusions. A separate component of the crime survey measures crimes committed against 10-15 year olds: Experimental statistics on the victimisation of children are shown separately for 2009/10 and 20010/11 in the relevant chapters of ‘Crime in England and Wales 2010/11’ (see Chaplin et al., 2011).  It is planned that these estimates will be incorporated in future first releases and published on a quarterly, rather than annual, basis.

Being a household survey the CSEW does not cover crime against businesses. Following a recommendation of the National Statistician’s review of crime statistics (National Statistician, 2011), a survey of commercial victimisation is currently being planned to run later in 2012 to provide statistics on key sectors of the economy over the next three years. These results will also be incorporated into future quarterly releases in 2013.

The CSEW fieldwork was carried out by TNS-BMRB. In the year ending March 2011, the CSEW had a nationally representative sample of 46,754 adults with a response rate of 76 per cent1. The survey is weighted to adjust for possible non-response bias and to ensure the sample reflects the profile of the general population. 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. For more information on statistical significance and confidence intervals for CSEW data, see Section 8 of the User Guide to Crime Statistics for England and Wales (ONS, 2012).

Police Recorded crime

Police recorded crime is the primary source of sub-national crime statistics and for lower-volume crimes. It covers people (for example residents of institutions and tourists) and sectors (for example commercial crime) excluded from the CSEW sample and has a wider coverage of offences (for example covering homicide and sexual offences 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 should be noted that recorded crime can be influenced by changes in recording practices or police activity. As well as the main police recorded crime series, there are additional collections covering knife crime (data for which are presented in Annex A) and firearm offences, which are too low in volume to be measured reliably by the CSEW.

Police recorded crime figures have been subject to a data reconciliation process with individual forces but remain provisional as forces can revise figures during the financial year. The annual National Statistics on police recorded crime at police force level are published alongside the annual bulletin after a fuller reconciliation and quality assurance process has  been completed by the Home Office Statistics Unit in liaison with individual police forces.  

Notes for Further information

  1. Based on CSEW interviews achieved during the year ending March 2011. The response rate for the year ending December 2011 cannot be calculated as finalised response figures are not available.

Background notes

  1. 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.

  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: July 2012.
  4. Follow us on www.twitter.com/statisticsONS or join us at www.facebook.com/statisticsONS 

    View the latest podcasts here www.youtube.com/ONSstats

  5. 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

    These National Statistics are produced to high professional standards and released according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.

Statistical contacts

Name Phone Department Email
John Flatley +44 (0)2075 928695 Crime Statistics crimestatistics@ons.gsi.gov.uk
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