Improved crime recording cannot disguise rise in victims

27 April 2017

PFEW Chair Steve White

PFEW Chair Steve White

Improved recording of crime can no longer disguise the reality that more people are becoming victims.

Crime figures released today by the Office for National Statistics continue to show an increase in total recorded crime, 4.8 million offences in the year ending December, an annual rise of 9%.

Changes in how crime is now recorded are once again outlined as the driver behind the increase. However, the report highlights that some of the lower volume but higher harm categories of police recorded violence, including homicide and knife crime appear to be small but genuine increases.

More worrying is that the same sentiment is used when outlining recent rises in burglary and robbery, both of which have seen substantial falls in recent years.

Steve White, Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales (pictured), said: “Worrying yes, surprising no. Too often we are criticised for painting a picture of doom and gloom. The picture we paint is simply what we see and more importantly, what our members describe.

“Demand is only going in one direction, up. Officers are quite simply firefighting and it’s taking its toll. Two thirds of our members tell us they go to work despite feeling they shouldn’t because of their mental wellbeing.”

Estimated fraud and computer misuse offences totaled 3.5 million and 1.9 million respectively. While these continue to be experimental statistics, the report outlines how other data suggests it has risen over the last year. For example, fraud referred to the police showed an annual rise of 4% and industry data on financial fraud showed there were 1.8 million cases of frauds on UK-issued cards (an increase of 22% from the previous year).

Steve White added: “These figures simply highlight the reality of the world we police, reflecting real crimes affecting real people, all of which need investigating by an ever reducing number of police officers. Ultimately, without the right support from both police leaders and the government, it’s the public that will suffer.”

Read more about work being done by the Police Federation of England and Wales in relation to Mental Health and Welfare on the Police Federation website.