Police-recorded crime in England and Wales hits highest level on record
Police forces in England and Wales have recorded the highest number of crimes in 20 years, driven by a sharp rise in offences including fraud, rape and violent attacks.
A total of 6.3 million crimes were recorded in the year to March 2022 – four per cent higher than the previous all-time high of 6.1 million in 2019/20.
It is also up 16 per cent on 2020/21, when crime levels were affected by Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.
The figures, which have been published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), show knife crime, theft and domestic abuse all increased in the 12 months to March.
Police-recorded offences of fraud and computer misuse have risen 17 per cent, from 828,364 in 2020/21 to 965,162 in 2021/22.
Knife crime rose by ten per cent to 49,027 offences in the year to March, compared with 44,642 in the previous 12 months – although this is below the pre-pandemic year of 2019/20, which saw 55,078 offences.
Various types of police-recorded crime are now at their highest level since current records began in 2002/03, including the number of rape offences (70,330 in 2021/22), all sexual offences (194,683), stalking and harassment offences (722,574), and all violence against the person offences (2.1 million).
There were 909,504 domestic abused-related offences recorded in 2021/22, up eight per cent on 2020/21 and up 12 per cent on the pre-pandemic year of 2019/20.
Some of this increase may reflect improvements seen in reporting over the last few years.
Commenting on today’s figures, Billy Gazard of the ONS said: “Police-recorded crime shows some indications of violent offences returning to or exceeding levels seen before the pandemic. Sexual offences recorded by the police were at the highest level recorded within a 12-month period in the year ending March 2022, a 32 per cent increase from the previous year.
“These changes may reflect a number of factors including the impact of high-profile cases and campaigns on victims’ willingness to report incidents.”