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Update on crime trends - April 2021

01 Jun 2021

Police recorded crime is nine per cent lower than in the same period as 2019, provisional data from forces in England and Wales show.

The latest figures cover the 4-week period ending 11 April 2021 and are compared with the equivalent 4-week period in 2019, rather than 2020. This is to allow comparisons with a more normal time-period, since the national lockdown in place at the same time last year (2020) was associated with notable reductions in demands on the police.

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 11 April 2021, serious violent crime, including Grievous Bodily Harm, Actual Bodily Harm and personal robbery reduced by 15 per cent, shoplifting was down 41 per cent, vehicle crime fell by 32 per cent and residential burglary was down by 34 per cent compared to the same period in 2019.

In contrast, there was a 13% rise in rape offences compared with the same four-week period a year earlier. This is a low volume offence, and it is too early to say whether this represents a significant change from previous trends. 

Recorded domestic abuse incidents was one per cent higher over the snapshot period compared to the same period in 2019. 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 26 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:

“The fall across most of these figures, compared to 2019, shows that we’re still seeing the impact of lockdown, despite the further easing of restrictions in May.

“That said, we are anticipating crime levels to return to pre-pandemic levels in the coming months, as we did across the summer in 2020.

“As we approach the final stage of the government’s roadmap and all restrictions are lifted, please be reassured that all forces have robust plans in place to deal with any upturn in crime, including violence, and will clamp down on violent offenders.

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.

“The number of assaults against emergency workers continues to show a troubling rise. This is unacceptable. We will use the full force of the law to prosecute anyone who uses violence against those who are on the front line. Officers and staff are out in communities, working in challenging circumstances, and I am grateful for their continued hard work.

“We encourage the public to continue to support us in our efforts to prevent the further spread of the virus.”

Forces have also continued to observe falls in calls to police. Compared to the same period in 2019, 999 call volumes decreased by 7 per cent and 101 calls by 15 per cent.

The national absence rate for officers and staff remains low at four per cent.

The full data pack is here.