Crime in England and Wales: year ending June 2021

Crime against households and adults using data from police recorded crime and the new Telephone-operated Crime Survey for England and Wales. Includes the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on crime and people’s perceptions of crime during the July 2020 to June 2021 interview periods.

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Contact:
Email Nick Stripe

Release date:
4 November 2021

Next release:
January 2022

1. Main points

Patterns of crime in the year ending June 2021 have been significantly affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and government instructions to limit social contact. Periods of national lockdown have seen decreases in the incidence of many types of crime. This has generally been followed by a return towards previous incidence levels once lockdowns ended.

Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) estimates provide the best indicator of long-term trends. Estimates from the Telephone-operated Crime Survey for England and Wales (TCSEW) for the year ending June 2021 compared with the pre-COVID year ending June 20191 show:

  • a 12% increase in total crime, driven by a 43% increase in fraud and computer misuse
  • a 14% decrease in total crime excluding fraud and computer misuse, largely driven by an 18% decrease in theft offences
  • little change in the total number of incidents of violence but a 27% decrease in the number of victims of violent crime, largely driven by falls in violence where the offender was a stranger2, in part reflecting the closure of the night-time economy for several months of the year

Fraud and computer misuse offences do not follow the lockdown-related pattern of reduced victimisation. Increases in these offences more than offset the reductions seen for other types of crime. Crime survey estimates for the year ending June 2021 compared with the year ending June 2019 show:

  • a 32% increase in fraud incidents, largely driven by substantial increases in both “consumer and retail fraud” and “advance fee fraud”
  • an 85% increase in computer misuse incidents, driven entirely by an increase in “unauthorised access to personal information, including hacking”

Police recorded crime data show a similar pattern to the crime survey, with overall reductions in the reporting and recording of many crime types during periods of lockdown. These data give more insight into lower-volume but higher-harm crimes that the survey does not cover or does not capture well. Compared with the year ending June 2020 they show:

  • an 11% decrease in the number of homicides, to 627 offences (and a 5% fall excluding the Grays lorry incident)
  • a 6% decrease in the number of police recorded offences involving firearms
  • an 8% decrease in offences involving knives or sharp instruments (knife-enabled crime)

Sexual offences, as recorded by the police, were also lower during periods of lockdown, but to a lesser extent during the winter 2020 to 2021 lockdown than during the spring 2020 lockdown. The number of sexual offences reached its highest ever quarterly level between April and June 2021. Caution is needed when interpreting the level of police recorded sexual offences. Recent figures may reflect a number of factors including the impact of high-profile cases and campaigns on victims’ willingness to report incidents. Police recorded crime data for the year ending June 2021 show:

  • the highest number of rape offences (61,158) recorded in a 12-month period, driven by the highest quarterly figure (17,285) between April and June 2021
  • the second highest number of sexual offences (164,763) recorded in a 12-month period, driven by the highest quarterly figure (48,553) between April and June 2021

Notes for: Main points

  1. The year ending June 2019 face-to-face Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) data are the latest that are based on a sample that is independent of the year ending June 2021 Telephone-operated Crime Survey for England and Wales (TCSEW) and allow for comparison over time.

  2. This is not indicative of levels of domestic abuse during the pandemic. Information on domestic abuse can be found in Section 7.

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2. Overall estimates of crime

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Crime estimates for the year ending June 2021 best reflect the current extent of crime experienced by the population resident in households (Appendix Table A2). However, new telephone-based survey (TCSEW) estimates are not directly comparable with previous survey (CSEW) estimates because of changes to the sample and questionnaire (see Section 13). Percentages changes are presented using figures adjusted for these differences (Appendix Table A3).

The Telephone-operated Crime Survey for England and Wales (TCSEW) began data collection on 20 May 2020 to capture trends in crime while normal face-to-face interviewing was suspended because of restrictions on social contact during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

According to TCSEW estimates, adults aged 18 years and over experienced 12.7 million offences in the year ending June 2021 (Appendix Table A2) including fraud and computer misuse. While there were decreases across a range of individual crime types, particularly theft offences, these were more than offset by rises in fraud and computer misuse offences (see Section 9), resulting in a 12% increase in overall levels of crime.

Total crime excluding fraud and computer misuse decreased by 14% compared with the year ending June 2019. This was largely driven by an 18% decrease in theft offences (Appendix Table A3). These decreases were related to the coronavirus pandemic and government instructions to limit social contact.

For the crime types and population it covers, the face-to-face Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) is a better indicator of long-term trends than police recorded crime. It is unaffected by changes in levels of reporting to the police or police recording practices. Our comparability report has shown that TCSEW estimates can be directly compared with these long-term CSEW estimates when certain adjustments are applied (Appendix Table A3).

Further information on these changes is available in the Measuring the data section.

Since the mid-1990s, there have been long-term falls in overall CSEW crime estimates (Figure 1). Long-term trends vary by crime types. For all headline figures, including a data time series, see Appendix tables.

Likelihood of victimisation

The latest estimates show that 8 in 10 adults did not experience any of the crimes asked about in the TSCEW in the year ending June 2021 (Figure 2).

The TCSEW also showed that the likelihood of being a victim of crime varied by demographic characteristics. For more information, see the annual trend and demographic tables.

Trends in police recorded crime

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Improvements to recording processes and practices by the police, expansions of the recorded crime collection to include new offences, variations in police activity, more victims reporting crime, and genuine increases in some types of crime, have each made substantial contributions to rises in recorded crime over the last five years. This effect has been more pronounced for some crime types. For some types of offence these figures do not provide reliable trends in crime.

Total police recorded crime remained stable with 5.8 million crimes in England and Wales in the year ending June 2021, however there was a 3% decrease (4.9 million offences) when excluding fraud and computer misuse. Police recorded crime has fluctuated across the year ending June 2021 and hides a lot of variation by crime type. Most of the fluctuations can be attributed to the introduction and subsequent easing of national lockdown restrictions throughout the year alongside more normal seasonal variations for some crime types.

Following the spring 2020 lockdown, total police recorded crime (excluding fraud and computer misuse) remained lower from July 2020 to February 2021 compared with July 2019 to February 2020. The largest falls were seen in January 2021 compared with January 2020 (24% decrease), and February 2021 compared with February 2020 (21% decrease). These coincided with the reintroduction of more extensive national lockdown restrictions (Figure 3).

From March 2021, monthly police recorded crime (excluding fraud and computer misuse) was higher compared with 2020. April 2021 was 30% higher than April 2020 reflecting the impact of the first spring 2020 national lockdown. The June 2021 monthly figure was 18% higher than June 2020 and 2% higher than June 2019. This is the first monthly police recorded crime (excluding fraud and computer misuse) figure higher than its respective month in 2019 since February 2020.

Total police recorded crime including fraud and computer misuse followed a similar but less pronounced pattern to crime, which excludes these offences. Offences recorded by Action Fraud or referred to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) were 20% higher in the year ending June 2021 compared with the year ending June 2020.

Crime survey and police recorded crime data can be used together to develop a more complete picture of crime (Table 1).

Information on case outcomes can be found in Home Office Crime outcomes in England and Wales. 

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3. Homicide

The police recorded 627 homicide offences in the year ending June 2021, an 11% decrease from the previous year (701 offences). The year ending June 2020 included the Grays lorry incident which involved the death of 39 migrants. Excluding this incident from the previous year’s homicide count, the number of homicides showed a 5% decrease (from 662 to 627 offences) in the year ending June 2021.

The rate of homicide in England and Wales remained at 10 per 1 million people in the year ending June 2021.

The number of homicides where a knife or sharp instrument was involved decreased slightly from 269 to 262 offences in the year ending June 2021. Of all recorded homicides in the latest year, the method of killing was by knife or sharp instrument in 42% of offences, an increase from 39% in the previous year.

For the latest headline figures relating to homicide and more detailed figures including data time series, see Appendix tables and Other related tables. For Police Force Area breakdowns see Police Force Area data tables.

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4. Knife or sharp instrument offences

Police recorded crime provides a better measure than the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) of higher-harm but less common types of violence, such as those involving a knife or sharp instrument (knife-enabled crime).

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Figures referenced in this section are not directly comparable with those previously published because of a change in knife or sharp instrument data collection practices.

There was an 8% decrease in knife-enabled crime recorded by the police in the year ending June 2021 (46,937 offences) compared with the previous year. This was driven by a 22% decrease in robbery offences to 16,850. The largest decreases in total knife-enabled crime were seen in October to December 2020 and January to March 2021 with offences down by 15% and 21% compared with respective periods in the previous years. Both these periods coincided with national lockdowns and the highest levels of restrictions on social contact.

Knife or sharp instrument offences are concentrated in urban areas1. Decreases in the year ending June 2021 were observed in the Metropolitan Police (21% decrease) and the West Midlands (3% decrease), two of three Police Force Areas with the highest volume of knife-enabled crime. However, Greater Manchester saw a 4% increase in knife or sharp instrument offences.

Police recorded “possession of article with a blade or point”2 offences increased by 2% to 22,096 in the year June 2021. This could have been influenced by increases in targeted police action.

The Home Office and police forces have continued to roll out a new methodology for identifying recorded offences involving knives or sharp instruments (knife-enabled crime). Twenty-seven forces have now switched to the NDQIS data collection methodology3. It is aimed that the new methodology will be rolled out to all forces in England and Wales over the next year. Estimates in this release include a combination of both new and old data collection methods.

For more information, including the differences in data collection methods, please see the methodology note Police recorded offences involving knives or sharp instruments, methodology changes and blog.

Other sources of data

The latest available provisional admissions data for NHS hospitals in England and Wales reported a 4% decrease in admissions for assault by a sharp object in the year ending June 2021 (to 4,280 admissions).

For data relating to knife-enabled crime see Other related tables, for geographic breakdowns see Police Force Area data tables and for sharp instrument homicides see Appendix tables: homicide in England and Wales. Data related to stop and searches can be found in the Home Office publication Police powers and procedures.

Notes for: Knife or sharp instrument offences

  1. Data cannot be compared across all police forces because of changes in data collection methods. Twenty-seven police forces have now switched to the NDQIS data collection method. Remaining police forces are still submitting knife or sharp instrument offences data via a special collection. For more information, please see the methodology note Police recorded offences involving knives or sharp instruments: methodology changes.

  2. Offences of “possession of an article with a blade or point” are covered separately by a specific recorded crime category, which is the specific crime of possessing an article with a blade or point illegally.

  3. The 27 forces that have switched to the NDQIS data collection method are: Avon and Somerset, Cambridgeshire, City of London, Cleveland, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Devon and Cornwall, Durham, Dyfed-Powys, Greater Manchester, Hertfordshire, Humberside, Kent, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Merseyside, Metropolitan Police, North Wales, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, South Wales, South Yorkshire, Surrey, Sussex, West Midlands and West Yorkshire. Remaining police forces are still submitting knife and sharp instrument offences data via a special collection.

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5. Offences involving firearms

Police recorded offences involving firearms decreased by 6% to 5,867 offences in the year ending June 2021 compared with 6,231 offences in the previous year. This decrease can be largely attributed to national lockdown restrictions that occurred throughout the year. Offences involving firearms were at their lowest level since the year ending March 2016.

For data relating to offences involving weapons see Offences involving the use of weapons: data tables. For data relating to offences involving firearms see Other related tables.

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6. Violence

The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) provides the best picture of the overall trend in violent crime.

Estimates from the Telephone-operated Crime Survey for England and Wales (TCSEW) showed that there were 1.9 million violent offences in the year ending June 2021 (Appendix Table A2). Using a comparable dataset adjusted for changes in the sample and questionnaire between the CSEW and TCSEW (see Appendix Table A3), there was no significant change in total violent incidents compared with the year ending June 2019.

Although the TCSEW indicated no change in the total number of violence incidents, there was a 27% decrease in the number of victims compared with the year ending June 2019. (Appendix Table A3). This was largely driven by falls in the prevalence of violence where the offender was a stranger. This likely reflects a decrease in violence taking place in public spaces during national lockdown restrictions. However, there has been a large but non-significant increase in acquaintance violence1. These estimates of violence are not indicative of levels of domestic abuse during the pandemic since the TCSEW was not able to produce such estimates.

Police recorded crime data showed a 4% decrease in violence with injury to 494,136 offences. Violence without injury offences remained stable at 716,521 in the year ending June 2021 compared with the year ending June 2020 (714,131).

For more detailed figures relating to violent crime, including a data time series, see Appendix tables.

Notes for: Violence

  1. Acquaintance violence includes victims who knew one or more offenders, at least by sight; it does not include domestic violence (between partners, ex-partners or family members).
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7. Domestic abuse and sexual offences

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Domestic abuse-related crimes and sexual offences recorded by the police do not provide a reliable measure of trends in these types of crime. Improvements in police recording practices and increased reporting by victims have contributed to increases in recent years. The figures do, however, provide a good measure of the crime-related demand on the police.

The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) provides a more reliable measure of long-term trends in domestic abuse, sexual assault, stalking and harassment. Questions related to these offences had to be suspended with the move to telephone interviewing from May 2020.

Domestic abuse

The police recorded 846,235 offences (excluding fraud) flagged as domestic abuse-related in the year ending June 2021. This represents a 6% increase from 813,958 offences in the previous year. This included 687,328 violence against the person offences flagged as domestic abuse-related, a 7% increase compared with the year ending June 2020.

It is difficult to determine the levels of domestic abuse in England and Wales using police recorded data because of gradual increases in recent years following changes in recording practices and high levels of non-reporting. In addition, we were unable to draw upon analysis from the crime survey; we cannot collect survey data on domestic abuse because of concerns around confidentiality and respondent safeguarding, which limit the types of questions asked via the Telephone-operated Crime Survey for England and Wales.

Given this, we cannot conclude whether there has been an increase in the number of victims of domestic abuse. However, data from victim services suggests that experiences of domestic abuse may have intensified during periods of national lockdown and that victims faced difficulties in safely seeking support under these conditions.

Further information and data related to domestic abuse can be found in Domestic abuse in England and Wales overview: November 2020. This publication will be updated later this month (November 2021).

Sexual offences

As a result of the need to move to telephone interviewing for the crime survey during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, for safeguarding and ethical reasons it has not been possible to include detailed questions relating to sexual offences. In the absence of survey data, police recorded data needs to be treated with caution. Prior to the pandemic, the number of police recorded sexual offences was well below the number of victims estimated by CSEW, with fewer than one in six victims of rape or assault by penetration reporting the crime to the police. There is, therefore, a great deal of scope for increases in police recorded crime.

The number of sexual offences recorded by the police showed an 8% increase in the year ending June 2021 (164,763 offences) compared with the previous year. The period April to June 2021 saw the highest ever recorded quarterly figure (48,553 offences), 15% higher than the April to June 2019 quarter, which was the previous highest (see Figure 8).

Rape accounted for 37% of all sexual offences recorded by the police. The number of rape offences in the year ending June 2021 was the highest ever recorded annual figure to date (61,158 offences). This was driven by a large increase in the latest April to June 2021 quarter (17,285 offences), which saw a 19% rise compared with January to March 2021. The latest quarterly rape figure was particularly high compared with the range of 11,836 to 15,557 offences per quarter in the last three years.

The latest quarterly figure may reflect the impact of recent high-profile events, media coverage and campaigns on people’s willingness to report incidents to the police, as well as a potential increase in the number of victims. The overall trend is also currently difficult to disentangle from the impact of lockdowns. While offences recorded by the police dropped noticeably during the spring 2020 lockdown before rebounding in the July to September 2020 quarter, this was not so noticeable during the winter 2020 to 2021 lockdowns.

Further data related to sexual offences can be found in the Sexual offences in England and Wales overview: year ending March 2020 publication.

CSEW data on the prevalence of domestic abuse, sexual assault and stalking for the year ending March 2020 can be found in Table S42 in Annual supplementary tables.

For information about Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) inspections of police recorded crime and incident data quality see our User guide to crime statistics for England and Wales: Measuring crime during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

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8. Theft offences

The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) is the most reliable indicator for long-term trends in the more common types of crime experienced by the general population, such as theft. However, police recorded crime data can give reliable indications of trends in some offences involving theft (for example, domestic burglary) and may provide a better measure of short-term trends.

There were 3 million incidents of theft estimated by the Telephone-operated Crime Survey for England and Wales (TCSEW) for the year ending June 2021 (Appendix Table A2). This was an 18% decrease compared with the year ending June 2019 (Appendix Table A3). This large fall was seen across most sub-categories with the largest fall of 50% seen in the “theft from a person” offence, followed by a 31% decrease in domestic burglary offences and a 23% reduction in vehicle-related theft offences.

A similar pattern was seen in police recorded theft offences, which decreased by 21% in the year ending June 2021 compared with the previous year, from 1.7 million to 1.4 million offences. This was driven by decreases in offences such as: theft from the person (36%), burglary (24%), shoplifting (21%) and vehicle offences (19%).

Police recorded robbery offences decreased by 21% in the year ending June 2021 compared with the previous year, from 79,659 to 62,803 offences.

All these falls were likely to be driven by national lockdown restrictions, with non-essential shops and the night-time economy being closed and people spending more time in their homes.

For the latest headline figures relating to theft and for more detailed figures, including time series, see Appendix tables.

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9. Fraud

Estimates from the Telephone-operated Crime Survey for England and Wales (TCSEW) showed that there were 5 million fraud offences in the year ending June 2021, a 32% increase compared with the year ending June 2019 (Appendix Table A3). This included large increases in “consumer and retail fraud”, “advance fee fraud” and “other fraud” and may indicate fraudsters taking advantage of behaviour changes related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, such as increased online shopping and increased savings. For example, advance fee fraud offences included scams where victims transferred funds to fraudsters for postal deliveries; other fraud included investment opportunity scams. A minority (26%) of these offences resulted in loss of money or property, with no or only partial reimbursement.

Fraud offences reported to the police are recorded and collected by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) from Action Fraud and two industry bodies, Cifas and UK Finance. Action Fraud (the public-facing national fraud and cybercrime reporting centre) reported a 36% rise in fraud offences (to 424,397 offences) compared with the year ending June 2020. The data showed a 34% increase in “online shopping and auctions” fraud in the latest year (from 70,761 to 94,795 offences) and a 51% increase in “financial investment fraud” (from 14,685 to 22,200 offences).

NFIB data showed referrals from Cifas (who report instances of fraud where their member organisations have been victims) decreased by 1% (to 312,895 offences) compared with the year ending June 2020. However, UK Finance reported a 43% increase (to 153,515 offences)1.

Many cases recorded separately by UK Finance (via a fraud reporting database called CAMIS) are not reported to the NFIB because they hold insufficient information to be of value from an intelligence perspective. UK Finance reported a 10% increase in fraud incidents (to 3.2 million incidents) in CAMIS. This was driven by a 15% increase in remote purchase fraud (to 2.5 million incidents). There was also a 71% increase in remote banking fraud (to 94,180 incidents), which reflects the greater number of people now regularly using internet, telephone and mobile banking, and the attempts by fraudsters to take advantage of this.

For the latest headline figures relating to fraud and for more detailed figures, including a data time series, see Appendix tables, Other related tables and Police Force Area tables.

Notes for: Fraud

  1. NFIB reports that a number of UK Finance offences that occurred in 2020/21 have been attributed to April 2021 because of a technical issue that didn’t allow a number of offences to be ingested by the system on time.
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10. Computer misuse

Estimates from the Telephone-operated Crime Survey for England and Wales (TCSEW) showed that there were 1.8 million computer misuse offences in the year ending June 2021. This was an 85% increase compared with the year ending June 2019, largely driven by a 161% increase in “Unauthorised access to personal information (including hacking)” offences (Appendix Table A3). This included victims’ details being compromised via large-scale data breaches, and victims’ email or social media accounts being compromised. Our most recent Nature of fraud and computer misuse in England and Wales: year ending March 2019 publication reported that 68% of victims were not affected at all by the incident.

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) also reported a 31% increase in “Hacking – personal” offences referred by Action Fraud (from 4,065 to 5,336 offences). See Appendix Table A5.

The TCSEW provides a better indication of the volume of computer misuse offences experienced by the adult population as it captures incidents that go unreported to the police. This can be seen by the large difference in the volume of computer misuse offences between the two sources, which also cannot be compared because of differences in coverage.

For the latest headline figures relating to computer misuse and for more detailed figures see Appendix tables and Other related tables.

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11. Anti-social behaviour

The Telephone-operated Crime Survey for England and Wales (TSCEW) showed that 28% of adults personally witnessed or experienced anti-social behaviour in their area in the last 12 months.

Estimates from the TCSEW showed that 49% of adults noticed individuals breaching virus restrictions in their local area since the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic began. Of these, 7% reported the breach to the police.

TCSEW estimates also showed that 8% of adults experienced being insulted, called names, threatened or shouted at in public spaces in the year ending June 2021. Where a specific perceived reason for the harassment was given, the most common was because of the coronavirus pandemic (19%). This included experiences related to social distancing and lockdown restrictions.

The most common non-coronavirus-related perceived reason for these experiences was their race or ethnicity (10%), followed by education, income level or job (9%).

The police recorded 1.8 million incidents of anti-social behaviour (ASB) in the year ending June 2021. Following consistent decreases over the past 10 years, this was an increase of 7% (excluding British Transport Police) compared with the year ending June 2020. The largest increase was seen in January to March 2021, with incidents up 46% compared with January to March 2020. This increase may reflect the reporting of breaches to public health restrictions, as most police forces include breaches reported to them by members of the public as an ASB incident.

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12. Crime data

Crime in England and Wales: Appendix tables
Dataset | Released on 4 November 2021
Long-term trends in Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) crime, estimates from the Telephone-operated Crime Survey for England and Wales (TCSEW) and police recorded crime, by offence type.

Crime in England and Wales: Coronavirus and crime tables
Dataset | Released on 4 November 2021
Information from a new module of questions included in the Telephone-operated Crime Survey for England and Wales (TCSEW) around perceptions of crime, the police and anti-social behaviour during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and feelings of safety and experiences of harassment. Data on children’s online activity are also presented.

Crime in England and Wales: Other related tables
Dataset | Released on 4 November 2021
Firearms, knife and sharp instrument offences, offences involving a corrosive substance, hospital admissions for assault with sharp objects, fraud, offences flagged as domestic abuse-related, corruption, child sexual abuse and child exploitation. Data tables also include information on anti-social behaviour, perceptions, and non-notifiable incidents. The data contained in these tables are from the following sources: police recorded crime, NHS hospital admissions data, fraud data from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau and UK Finance CAMIS database and figures from the Ministry of Justice Criminal Justice Statistics.

Crime in England and Wales: Police Force Area data tables
Dataset | Released on 4 November 2021
The number of police recorded crimes, percentage change from previous year and rate per 1,000 population by offence group, firearms, knife and sharp instrument, fraud and computer misuse and anti-social behaviour offences by Police Force Area.

Crime in England and Wales: Quarterly data tables
Dataset | Released on 4 November 2021
Data from Home Office police recorded crime broken down into quarterly and monthly time periods.

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13. Glossary

Computer misuse

Computer misuse is when fraudsters hack or use computer viruses or malware to disrupt services, obtain information illegally or extort individuals or organisations.

Criminal damage

Criminal damage results from any person who, without lawful excuse, destroys or damages any property belonging to another, either intending to destroy or damage any such property or being reckless as to whether any such property would be destroyed or damaged.

Fraud

Fraud involves a person dishonestly and deliberately deceiving a victim for personal gain of property or money or causing loss or risk of loss to another. The majority of incidents fall under the legal definition of “Fraud by false representation” – where a person makes a representation that they know to be untrue or misleading (for example, banking and payment card frauds and dating scams). Telephone-operated Crime Survey for England and Wales (TCSEW) estimates cover a broad range of fraud offences, including attempts, involving a loss and incidents not reported to the authorities. See the “Glossary” section of Nature of fraud and computer misuse in England and Wales: year ending March 2019 for definitions of the different fraud types.

Overall theft offences

Telephone-operated Crime Survey for England and Wales (TCSEW) theft offences include all personal and household crime where items are stolen, including theft from the person, other theft of personal property, domestic burglary, vehicle-related theft, and bicycle theft.

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. Mugging is an informal term for robbery. In this bulletin, we use the term “robbery”.

Violent crime

Violent crime covers a range of offence types from minor assaults, such as pushing and shoving that result in no physical harm, to murder. This includes offences where the victim was intentionally stabbed, punched, kicked, pushed or jostled, as well as offences where the victim was threatened with violence, regardless of injury.

More information and further definitions can be found in the “offence type” section of the User guide to crime statistics for England and Wales: Measuring crime during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

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14. Measuring the data

Telephone-operated Crime Survey for England and Wales (TCSEW)

The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) estimates continue to provide important information in relation to longer-term trends in crime from year ending December 1981 to year ending March 2020. TCSEW provides estimates of crime for the year ending June 2021.

Estimates from the TCSEW are derived from a total of 39,042 telephone interviews conducted with household residents in England and Wales aged 18 years and over between 1 July 2020 and 30 June 2021. The sample was formed from respondents who had previously participated in the face-to-face Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) in the last two years. TCSEW estimates cannot be compared with the year ending June 2020 CSEW estimates because of overlapping reporting periods for some respondents. Therefore, TCSEW estimates are compared with the year ending June 2019 CSEW estimates throughout this bulletin.

Appendix Table A2 presents TCSEW crime for the year ending June 2021. These estimates best reflect the current extent of crime but are not directly comparable with CSEW estimates because of changes to the TCSEW sample and questionnaire.

Findings from our comparability study showed that TCSEW estimates are comparable with CSEW estimates after certain adjustments are applied. Comparable datasets were created with the following changes:

  • the population of study is restricted to those aged 18 years and over
  • overlapping data periods must not be used for the main estimates of crime
  • incidents derived from the threat and harassment screener question must be removed from both the current and comparator years for the main estimates of crime

All direct comparisons between the year ending June 2021 TCSEW estimates and the year ending June 2019 CSEW estimates are made with the use of these comparable datasets. An additional table, Appendix Table A3, presents percentage changes between these estimates. Estimates presented in Appendix Table A3 will be lower than those presented in Appendix Table A2 and underestimate the extent of crime.

Further information is available in the comparability study and User guide to crime statistics for England and Wales: measuring crime during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

As we are collecting data in a new survey mode, the telephone-operated survey estimates are presented within this release as Experimental Statistics.

Police recorded crime

Police recorded crime data are supplied to us by the Home Office, who are responsible for the collation of recorded crime data supplied by the 43 territorial police forces of England and Wales, plus the British Transport Police. These data are supplied to the Home Office on a monthly basis for each crime within the notifiable offence list.

The recorded crime figures are collated via a live administrative system that is continually being updated as forces submit data. The data represent a “snapshot” of the live database taken on 14 September 2021 (for data up to the end of June 2021).

Figures may differ slightly from those published in subsequent bulletins for the same period, although this does not mean that the figures previously published were inaccurate at the time that they were reported. Police recorded crime data are not designated as National Statistics.

For more information on how we are measuring crime during the pandemic, see our Quality and Methodology Information report.

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15. Strengths and limitations

Police recorded crime

Police recorded crime has wider offence coverage and population coverage than the Telephone-operated Crime Survey for England and Wales (TCSEW). It is the primary source of local crime statistics and is a good measure of offences that are well-reported to and well-recorded by the police, including lower volume crimes (for example, homicide). In addition, the time lag between occurrence of crime and reporting results tends to be short, providing an indication of emerging trends.

Police recorded crime excludes offences that are not reported to, or not recorded by, the police. Trends can be influenced by changes in recording practices, or police activity and public reporting of crime, making it difficult to make long-term comparisons. There are also concerns about the quality of recording and that crime is not recorded consistently across police forces.

Telephone-operated Crime Survey for England and Wales (TCSEW)

Although the TCSEW was set up in a short timeframe in response to developing world events, findings from our comparability study showed that TCSEW estimates are comparable with CSEW estimates with the use of newly created comparable datasets. However, TCSEW estimates cannot be compared with the year ending June 2020 CSEW estimates because of overlapping reporting periods for some respondents.

For more information see our Quality and Methodology Information report.

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Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

Nick Stripe
crimestatistics@ons.gov.uk
Telephone: +44 20 7592 8695