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Crime figures soar to nearly five million in 2016/17

The largest annual rise in 10 years has seen a 10% jump in the crimes recorded by police.

Police recorded the largest annual rise in crime in a decade with nearly five million offences over the last year to March, new figures show.

The number of crimes in England and Wales recorded by the police rose 10% on the same period in 2015/16, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

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In a different measure, there were an estimated 11 million offences covered by the Crime Survey of England and Wales (CSEW), including new experimental figures of fraud and cyber crimes.

John Flatley, head of crime statistics for the ONS, said: “The latest figures show the largest annual rise in crimes recorded by the police in a decade.

Offences recorded by police involving a knife or sharp instrument, from 2010/11 to 2016/17

“While ongoing improvements to recording practices are driving this volume rise, we believe actual increases in crime are also a factor in a number of categories.”

Police recorded 458,021 more offences in the 12-month period to March compared with the previous year, which the ONS said was driven by an increase in violence.

Violence against the person soared 18% to 175,060 offences, while theft was up 7% to 118,774 crimes, and public order offences jumped 39% to 78,697.

The ONS said there was a 7% reduction in offences recorded by the CSEW, when fraud and cyber crimes were excluded – falling from 6.3 million to 5.9 million.

The CSEW asks victims about experiences of a range of crimes and does not include the same types as those measured by police recorded figures.

When fraud and computer misuse offences are included, the total number of estimated crimes hits 11 million, which is above the level of that estimated in the same period a decade ago.

Violence with injury jumped by 8% and violence without injury rose by a quarter. There was a large rise in the assault without injury category that includes modern slavery, which rose by 1,385 offences, and stalking, up 1,135 crimes.

There were 723 homicides recorded by police, an increase of 1,489 on the previous year, but this includes the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster, the ONS said. When those cases are excluded, homicides rose by 9%.

Alexa Bradley, deputy head of crime statistics at ONS, explained why the CSEW and police records data appeared to show different trends.

“It is important to remember that the sources differ in the population and offences they cover,” she said.

“At least half of the increase in police recorded crime series is in offences not covered by the survey, including shoplifting, public order offences and possession of weapons.”

Some 35,000 households are questioned for the CSEW and the response rate is 73%, Mr Flatley said.

He added: “People are a bit black and white – ‘crime survey is good, police recorded crime is bad’. It’s a bit more nuanced than that.”

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