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Leigh Simms
Leigh Simms's picture
UK - Sex crimes reported to police at highest level since current records began


Please see above link to the Daily Mails article, reporting that sex crimes have been reported at a record high level in the UK. Murder, Knife and even Gun crime has rose over the last year according to the report. Whilst, there seems to be a political slant to the article, it also mentions why there appears to be an increase the amount of crime. Well worth a read and I am sure plenty of food for thought for everyone on here :)


Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

The actual report can be found here: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171778_430813.pdf

I’d always advise going to the report as opposed to secondary reporting of the report. If you do that you can get a better feel for what is going on and see that, while there are areas for concern, it’s not as bleak as the headlines suggest. For example:  

There was a 6% increase in police recorded crime compared with the previous year, with 4.3 million offences recorded in the year ending September 2015. Most of this rise is thought to be due to a greater proportion of reports of crime being recorded in the last year, following improved compliance with national recording standards by police forces.

So the overall increase is thought to be down to better record keeping.

When it comes to the homicide statistics the 14% rise is not a frightening as you first may think due to the overall very low rate:

In the year ending September 2015, the police recorded 574 homicides, 71 more than the previous year. Though appearing high, this increase includes 2 months where there were relatively high numbers of recorded homicide - June 2015 (75 homicides) and November 2014 (58). This is combined with 2 months where there were relatively low numbers of recorded homicide in the comparator year, ending in September 2014 (30 in May 2014 and 31 in Feb 2014). Historically, the number of homicides increased from around 300 per year in the early 1960s to over 800 per year in the early years of this century, which was at a faster rate than population growth over that period. However, over the past decade the volume of homicides has generally decreased while the population of England and Wales has continued to grow.

It is a similar thing with firearms offenses. The “4% rise” headline does not reveal the fact that the rates are very low and we are still 50% down on where we are a decade ago.

Offences involving firearms (excluding air weapons) have increased 4% (by 215 offences to 4,994) in the year ending September 2015 compared with the previous year. This is the first increase since 2008, and is driven by a rise in the number of offences recorded by the Metropolitan Police Service (an increase of 149 offences, or 10% compared with the previous year). Despite this, there has been a general downward trend in this series over the longer-term, and the latest figures are over 50% lower than the peak in year ending March 2006.

The most worrying figure would seem to be the leap in sexual offenses, but as the report itself makes clear the figures are not entirely negative because it seems people are more willing to come forward and there have been improvements in police recording.  

Sexual offences recorded by the police increased by 36% compared with the previous year, to a total of 99,609 across England and Wales. Within this, the number of offences of rape increased by 39% and other sexual offences by 35%. These rises remain some of the largest year-on-year increases since the introduction of the NCRS in year ending March 2003. It is thought rises in police recorded sexual offences are likely to be due to an improvement in recording by the police and an increase in the willingness of victims to come forward and report to the police.

The report also points out as one of its main findings that:

The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) shows there were an estimated 6.6 million incidents of crime covered by the survey in the year ending September 2015. This latest estimate was not significantly different compared with the previous year’s.

This is good news because had there also been a corresponding jump in the CSEW then these figures from the Office for National Statistics would have undoubtedly been due to crime moving strongly in a negative direction. However, the difference would lend weight to the conclusion that the increases are mainly (but not entirely) due to better recording and an improved willingness of victims to report crime.

So, as usual, its mixed bag of information with some good news and some bad news.

All the best,


JWT's picture

As Iain says, where numbers are low the %increase or decrease will tend to be a large figure. The detail is in the small print.

I've always found it useful to look at the CSEW data alongside the Violent Crime related A&E data for a better informed picture.

The 2015 report is not yet available as far as I can see.

Cardiff University - Children & Young People Now

All the best

John Titchen

sarflondonboydonewell's picture

Just a few points; I concur with the general view that there is a definite propensity to report crime but a good percentage of crimes are  committed by a small number of criminals in many cases who are prolific offenders.

However in my view the increase in the murder rate would be  higher  if it wasn’t for quick and better medical treatment and long term medical care in short what would have been a murder 10 years ago now due to medical treatment  becomes a grievous bodily harm.

In 2011 over half a million crimes were committed by repeat offenders and I would say that percentage hasn’t changed.  Also crime is very disproportionate and not evenly spread for example in London between April 2013 to March 2014  violence against the person was 26 per 1000 in Tower Hamlets as against 10 per 1000 in Richmond and one could further break that down by area within those boroughs which would probably show that some areas especially in Richmond would have no violent crime.

TomF's picture

The tendency to report crime with more frequency shouldn't be downplayed, whatever else may also be true.  The government department where I worked in the 90s ran "Domestic Abuse" awareness campaigns every February.  Like clockwork, every March and April we saw a spike in usage at Family Violence shelters, as people became aware that what they thought was a dirty secret or somehow their own fault ... didn't have to be. 

It didn't mean that people beat up their families more frequently in March and April.