Crime in England and Wales has fallen to its lowest level since 1981, according to a national survey.
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The latest data from the Crime Survey for England and Wales — which includes offences not reported to police — estimated that there were 7.3 million crimes in 2013/14, down 14 per cent on the previous year and the lowest since 1981.
But police figures showed no change compared to the previous year, with 3.7 million offences recorded in the 12 months to March. The police statistics also showed rises in offences of violence, up by six per cent, and a sharp increase in rapes and sex offences.
Sex offences rose by 20 per cent last year — including rape offences which showed a 27 per cent rise to the highest level since 2002/03. Mark Bangs, from the Office for National Statistics, said: “Part of the rise in sexual offences is related to the effect of the Operation Yewtree investigation which has brought to light a large number of historic sexual offences. The increase is also likely to reflect a broader Yewtree effect whereby more victims are coming forward to report sexual offences to the police.”
The police figures are the first to be released after concerns were raised about the poor quality of the way police record crimes, and the figures being stripped of an official gold standard.
Until now they have shown year-on-year reductions since 2002/03.
While the police figures show violent crime is rising, the national crime survey showed there were 1.3 million violent incidents, a drop of 20 per cent.
The police figures also show deaths by dangerous driving rose sharply to 282, up from 174 the previous year and fraud was up by 17 per cent. Analysis showed that 5.1 per cent of bank or credit card users were victims of card fraud, up from 4.6 per cent.