Crime figures provided to the National Police Chiefs’ Council from forces in England and Wales show an overall fall of 22 per cent in the four weeks to 14 February 2021, compared to the same period in 2020.
Throughout the pandemic, sustained falls in crime have been recorded throughout periods of national lockdown, with crime only rising close to 2019 levels during the summer months of 2020.
The third national lockdown introduced on 6 January 2021 saw a large reduction in recorded crime as individuals were told to stay at home, allowing criminals less opportunities to commit offences.
For the most recent recorded snapshot, for the four weeks to 14 February 2021, serious violent crime, including Grievous Bodily Harm, Actual Bodily Harm and personal robbery reduced by 36 per cent, shoplifting was down 44 per cent, vehicle crime fell by 36 per cent and residential burglary was down by 36 per cent compared to the same period in 2020.
Reported rape saw a 12 per cent fall and recorded domestic abuse incidents decreased by five per cent over the snapshot period compared to the same period in 2020. There remains little evidence of the significant increase in reported domestic abuse that was anticipated at the start of lockdown, although police continue to monitor this area closely and work closely in partnership with relevant organisations. Police figures do not capture hidden domestic abuse that is not reported.
The latest figures also showed a 14 per cent increase in assaults on emergency workers. The rise is thought to be driven by increases in common assaults on police officers, including suspects spitting on officers while claiming to be infected with Covid-19.
National Police Chiefs’ Council Chair, Martin Hewitt said:
“We have seen falls in crime during periods of national lockdown and we are seeing the same trends again.
“Although overall crime is lower than the comparable time last year, demand on the police remains significant. As well as day-to-day policing, to prevent and tackle crime and keep communities safe, we continue to work alongside our partners both locally and nationally in tackling this pandemic and limiting the spread of the virus.
“Assaults on emergency workers who do crucial work to keep the public safe at any time are deplorable. This is an offence and those caught will be prosecuted. Police are out in communities, working in very challenging circumstances, and I am grateful for their continued hard work.
“We encourage the public to follow the rules in place to limit the spread of the virus.”
Forces have also continued to observe falls in calls to police. Compared to the same period in 2020, 999 call volumes decreased by 20 per cent and 101 calls by 18 per cent.
The national absence rate for officers and staff remains low at 4.8 per cent.