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Tuesday, 27th July 2010

UK: Crime in England and Wales 2009/10: Findings from the British Crime Survey and police recorded crime

Crime in England and Wales 2009/10: Findings from the British Crime Survey and police recorded crime (PDF)
Source: Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate (UK)
From: An overview of the findings

There is a clear pattern from the BCS of crime reaching a peak in 1995 with a subsequent decline, with overall BCS crime down by 50 per cent since 1995. There were important changes in police recording practice in 1998 and 2002 which served to inflate the police figures and resulted in divergence from BCS trends. After the bedding-in of these changes, there has been more convergence in police recorded crime and BCS crime, with trends becoming more similar over the last three to five years.

While estimates for crime from the BCS go back to 1981, the Home Office have figures on crimes recorded by the police going back over more than 100 years1. However, one problem in interpreting police figures over the long term is our limited knowledge of how public reporting and police recording practices have changed. For example, over the 20th century police recorded crime figures increased more than 70-fold; this will not simply reflect possible changes in levels of offending but will be substantially affected by a range of factors including changes in public reporting, police recording and coverage of new offences as well as increases in population size.

The most striking new finding within this report is that both the 2009/10 BCS and police recorded crime are consistent in showing falls in overall crime compared with 2008/09. Overall BCS crime decreased by nine per cent (from 10.5 million crimes to 9.6 million crimes), and police recorded crime by eight per cent (from 4.7 million to 4.3 million crimes).


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