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Provisional data shows crime slowly returning to 2019 levels

27 Aug 2020

Provisional data from police forces in England and Wales shows police recorded crime is seven per cent lower than in the same period as 2019, as lockdown measures have eased.

Snapshot figures released today based on preliminary police recorded crime provided to the National Police Chiefs’ Council from 43 forces in England and Wales (excluding fraud, which is recorded by centrally by Action Fraud) cover the four weeks to 2 August compared with the same period in 2019. 

This is the fifth crime trends update since the beginning of lockdown restrictions across England and Wales and indicates certain crime trends returning towards pre-lockdown levels.   

Previous reporting showed a 28 per cent reduction for the four weeks to 12 April, a 25 per cent fall for the four weeks to 10 May, an 18 per cent fall in the four weeks to 7 June, and a 12 percent fall in recorded crime for the four week to 5 July.

Marked reductions were again recorded for residential burglary, vehicle crime (including theft of and from a vehicle), assaults (including both Grievous Bodily Harm and Actual Bodily Harm) and robbery and shoplifting. Forces have also continued to observe decreases, albeit at lower rates than previously reported, in 999 and 101 call volumes, by 10 per cent and 12 per cent respectively.

Assaults on emergency service workers saw a 31 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 in assaults is largely due to increases in assaults without injury, which may be driven by scenarios such as common assault on staff.

National Police Chiefs’ Council Chair, Martin Hewitt said:

“One consequence of the restrictions was the reduction in crime.  Sadly, we are now seeing crime getting closer to the levels we saw in 2019.  Police forces are busy tackling and preventing crime and providing a policing service to their communities, while continuing to play their part in the national effort to limit the spread of coronavirus.

“I am disgusted to see an increase in assaults on emergency service workers who are the frontline in protecting us all including from this deadly virus.  We will use the full force of the law to prosecute anyone who uses violence against those who are on the front line.”

Forces continue to benefit from a low officer and staff absence figure of 4.7 per cent across the UK.

In total, 18,683 notices have been recorded as having been issued under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations, England and Wales in England (16,021) and Wales (2,662) between Friday 27th March and Monday 17th August.

In the last four week period, 13 fines were issued by forces in England. No fines were issued in Wales under these regulations during this period.

36 fines have been issued by police forces during localised restrictions, in line with regulations laid for each affected area.

46 FPNs were issued between 15 June and 17 August for breaches of the Face Coverings Regulations.  38 of these fines were issued against the regulations concerning wearing a face covering on public transport. Further, eight of the fines were issued against the regulations concerning the wearing a face covering in a relevant place, such as in a shop.

In this reporting period, three fines were issued to those failing to self-isolating after arriving in England. These were issued in: Lincolnshire, Merseyside and Sussex police force areas. This only reflects fines issued by territorial police forces and does not include those from UK Border Force.

National Police Chiefs’ Council Chair, Martin Hewitt said:

“Coronavirus is still a real and deadly threat. The restrictions across the UK are in place to limit the spread of the virus and save lives.

“Large gatherings both indoors and outdoors are still unlawful.  And it is mandatory to wear face coverings on public transport, in shops and in some other enclosed spaces.   Other local restrictions apply in some parts of the country.

“We all have a role to play limiting the spread of this deadly virus so familiarise yourself with public health measures in place locally. 

“Officers will continue to be out in communities - engaging, educating and encouraging people to be act responsibly to stop the spread of this virus - and patrols are being stepped up in problem spots. We will enforce where necessary. 

“Those who flout the regulations risk a fine of £100 – halving to £50 if paid within 14 days.  Those organising or facilitating unlawful gatherings face fines of £10,000.

“As restrictions ease across the country, people will want to go out and enjoy themselves but this needs to be done in a socially responsible manner, within the law, and with due regard for everyone’s safety.”

The full crime trends data pack (Ending August 2) can be downloaded here.

The full FPN data pack can (Ending 17 August 2020) can be downloaded here.

A force by force breakdown of FPN data can be downloaded here.