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Police continue to see falls in crime during lockdown

19 Jun 2020

Provisional data from police forces in England and Wales shows continued falls in recorded crime compared to last year, with the lockdown effect on crime still holding.

Provisional snapshot figures released today show that police recorded crime from 43 police forces in England and Wales has fallen overall by 18 per cent – excluding fraud, which is recorded by centrally by Action Fraud – in the four weeks to 07 June, compared to the same period in 2019.

This is the third crime trends update since the beginning of lockdown restrictions across England and Wales. Previous provisional reporting showed a 28 per cent fall in recorded crime for the 4 weeks to 12 April, and a 25 per cent fall for the 4 weeks to 10 May.

As restrictions begin to gradually ease and more of the public go about their business, criminals will look to exploit what opportunities they can and the public are encouraged to continue staying vigilant and reporting criminal activity to the police.

Overall recorded crime has begun to slowly trend back towards 2019 levels, while still remaining significantly lower compared to last year. The upward trend across snapshots reflects the gradual easing of lockdown measures, and was expected by policing as more changes were announced by both the UK and Welsh Governments.

Sustained falls were again recorded for residential burglary, vehicle crime (including theft of and from a vehicle), rape, assaults (including both Grievous Bodily Harm and Actual Bodily Harm) and robbery committed against individuals, and shoplifting. Forces have also continued to observe decreases in call volumes to 999 and 101, and in the number of cases relating to missing persons.

While still observing a fall of two per cent, this snapshot shows mental health related cases slowly reaching 2019 levels again.

Forces continue to benefit from a low officer and staff absence figure of 6.5 per cent across the UK.

Commenting on the figures, National Police Chiefs’ Council Chair, Martin Hewitt said:

“The vast majority of the public have followed the rules in place to limit the spread of the virus, and as a result we have seen sustained reductions in crime over the course of the lockdown period. It is no surprise that as more people are able to move around freely, we will begin to see movement towards previous levels, however this is a gradual change. We are reassured to still be observing significant falls in crime overall.

“As measures continue to ease, forces will bear down on crime and do all they can to try and prevent it rising to pre-lockdown highs.

“Forces continue to make use of any additional capacity to do more proactive policing in their communities. Brilliant work is taking place to reduce backlogs in complex investigations ensuring justice is done for many victims and removing criminals from the streets.”

There has been an 8 per cent rise in domestic abuse incidents. Police data on domestic abuse incidents measure concerns that have been brought to the attention of the police. Not all incidents will result in a crime being identified and recorded, nor will hidden abuse be captured in these data. This small rise compared to the last snapshot reflects the changing landscape of lockdown measures, with more reporting possible as people are able to leave their homes with greater freedom.

Victims of domestic abuse should report wherever possible either to police, or to a trusted charity or support service. Forces are closely monitoring domestic abuse reported to them, alongside information provided by charities and others.

Assaults on emergency service workers saw a 24 per cent rise compared to the same period last year. This is a snapshot of an offence type which is typically recorded in low volumes - data may therefore fluctuate between snapshots.

The rise is largely due to increases in assaults without injury, which may be driven by scenarios such as common assault on staff, in addition to an increase in protest activity across the country in the first week of June.

Martin Hewitt said:

“The rise in domestic abuse incidents is concerning. Our message is victims is to contact us, we will help you. You’re not alone - confidential support is also available from many charities and specialist services.

“Assaults on emergency workers who do crucial work for the good of us all are deplorable. This is an offence and those caught will be prosecuted with the support of the Crown Prosecution Service.”

Crime type breakdowns, and their accompanying data notes, are provided in the data pack linked here.