Case Studies

Crime survey latest

by Mark Rowe

Decreases in crime levels during the year ending June 2020 were mainly driven by changes in society after coronavirus lockdown restrictions were put in place, according to the UK official Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Billy Gazard from the OCS’ Centre for Crime and Justice said: “The most substantial reductions were seen in theft and robbery offences during the April to June quarter. There are indications that crime levels in June were moving back towards pre-lockdown levels.

“Police recording of drug offences increased sharply throughout the April to June period, reflecting proactive police activity as overall crime levels reduced. Anti-social behaviour incidents also increased. These include reported breaches of lockdown restrictions to the police.”

For details of the latest England and Wales Crime Survey for the year to June 2020, based on telephone interviews rather than the previous visits by interviewers, visit the ONS website. The ONS says that the telephone survey estimates are not directly comparable with estimates derived from the face-to-face Crime Survey for England and Wales.

Reductions were seen across many types of police recorded crime; notably, theft offences and robbery fell in April to June 2020 by 43pc and 47pc respectively, compared with April to June 2019, reflecting the time people spent at home during the spring lockdown, and pub closures. An exception was in drug offences, where levels rose by 30pc in April to June 2020 compared with April to June 2019; the ONS said this reflected more police activity in pursuing such crimes.


West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) David Jamieson said he had severe concerns ‘that the rapidly worsening economic climate is going to have a long term impact on crime. Most leading economists are predicting a huge rise in unemployment; a hardship that our young people may have to endure for an unspecified period of time. The correlation between unemployment and criminality is well known. This will be worsened by the ending of the furlough scheme’.

“As the year progresses, we could see large numbers of young people find that there is no job for them and they may have very limited opportunity for paid employment once the lockdown is lifted. In my view, this is a ticking time bomb. Some of these young people, particularly young men, could well be drawn into antisocial behaviour, which in some cases will graduate into serious violence and crime.”

Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly PCC Alison Hernandez said: “These are not ordinary times, and consequently these are not an ordinary set of figures. I’m pleased that with all the doom and gloom around we can deliver some good news in that residents of Devon and Cornwall are safer in terms of a crime threat than they have been. Lockdown made life harder for criminals, and it also made it easier for police to identify criminal activity like county lines drug dealing.”

Cleveland saw the highest recorded crime rate, with 118.0 crimes per 1,000 people.

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