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Serious crime increases

Violent crime in England and Wales soared by 24 per cent in the 12 months to June 2016, the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) Crime Survey revealed last week.

The survey also showed:

  • Knife crime rose by nine per cent
  • Gun crime went up by seven per cent, and
  • Reported rapes and other sex offences increased by 14 per cent.

Tiff Lynch, chairman of Leicestershire Police Federation, says the figures are of concern, particularly since any rise in these crimes means there are more people falling victim to these types of offences.
"It is all too easy to get carried away with the numbers and the statistics when what we should really concentrate on are the people who are the victims of these nasty crimes. Victims will be someone's parent, child, grandparent or grandchild, someone's brother or sister, someone's aunt or uncle, a friend, a neighbour, a work colleague and the effect of that crime will be felt not just by them but by their loved ones," says Tiff.

"But, of course, a growth in these types of crimes will not just have an impact on victims and their families but also on police officers who are trying their best to serve their communities with ever-depleted resources."

The ONS is largely dismissive of the police recorded figures saying they are 'largely due to improvements in recording practices and increased coverage, although it does include a small but genuine increase in some categories of violent crime'.

It is blaming the introduction of new harassment offences such as revenge porn and coercive control. It argues the overall crime rate remains broadly flat as per its Crime Survey, estimating that there were 6.4m crime incidents over the year, a fall of one per cent compared with the previous year.

It has also mentioned that the figures for cyber and online crime - not yet included in the survey - indicate an estimated 5.6 million fraud and computer misuse offences over the year.

But Calum Macleod, vice chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, agrees with the Leicestershire Police Federation chairman.

"Whichever way you dress it up, you cannot disguise the fact that the most shocking crimes are increasing at an alarming rate," he said.

"You cannot get away from the fact that the police recorded figures reflect real crimes reported by real people, and they have to be investigated by a dwindling number of officers."

He added: "We also know that there has been an explosion of online and cyber-crime - last year there were an additional estimated 5.6 million fraud and computer misuse offences, which also have to be investigated - and this trend shows no sign of abating."