Data in the Crime Survey for England and Wales from the Office for National Statistics showed there were 8.5 million incidents in the year to the end of June, compared to 9.1 million in the previous year. The crime figure is half the peak level recorded in 1995 and the lowest since the survey began in 1981.
However, cases of fraud rose by 21 per cent, sexual offences by 9 per cent and theft was up by 8 per cent – which is believed to be driven by the theft of smartphones and pick-pocketing.
In the year ending June 2013, a total of 230,355 fraud offences were reported. This represented an increase of 21 per cent compared to the previous year and up 59 per cent compared with 2007/08.
The rise in sexual offences was put down to more victims coming forward in the wake of the Jimmy Saville scandal.
Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker said: “England and Wales are safer than they have been for decades but we will continue to deliver measures which keep pace with the changing nature of crime and improve our ability to combat emerging issues.”
The results haven’t been universally heralded and Jack Dromey, Labour’s Shadow Policing Minister, claims it is “of real concern” that the long-term reductions in crime levels are “slowing”.
He warned: “There are worrying increases in muggings across the country, while violence against the person has increased in 13 police force areas across England and Wales, with notable increases in some areas.
“Fraud has increased by 21 per cent, but we know this is just the tip of the iceberg because much online crime goes unreported.”
The Crime Survey also showed the police recorded 3.7 million offences in the year ending June 2013, which was a drop of 5 per cent compared to the previous year.
National Policing Lead for Crime and Statistics, Temporary Chief Constable Jeff Farrar admitted the figures for reported crimes and police recorded crimes in the quarterly report were encouraging.
He said: “It begins to paint a picture that crime is genuinely falling across the country thanks to the joint efforts of our criminal justice partners and the refusal by the public to accept criminal behaviour.”