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CRIME REMAINS STABLE - BLITZ ON ALCOHOL-FUELLED VIOLENCE

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Crime in England and Wales has remained stable according to the British ...
Crime in England and Wales has remained stable according to the British

Crime Survey (BCS), the most authoritative and reliable indicator of crime

trends, and police recorded crime, compared to the same quarter last year.

Both the quarterly figures published today and a new report on violent crime

suggest a changed pattern of crime in Britain today, with criminal activity

more likely to be focussed on anti-social behaviour and alcohol-related

violence than on crime such as burglary and vehicle theft. The quarterly

update shows that recorded burglary, robbery and vehicle crime, have again

all fallen significantly. Both the risk of being a victim of crime and the

risk of being burgled remain at their lowest levels in more than 20 years.

Violent crime in the British Crime Survey fell by five per cent and violence

involving any injury dropped by six per cent. Police recorded violent crime

increased by 11 per cent and much of this rise is due to an increase in the

reporting and recording of 'low level' thuggery, which increased by 21 per

cent, and more willingness by victims to report sex offences. Approximately

half of all violent crimes did not involve injury to the victim.

Alcohol accounts for around half of all violent crime - at peak times 70 per

cent of A&E admissions are due to alcohol and one in four people say alcohol

causes a problem in their area.

The Home Office also announced today that this summer the Police Standards

Unit and ACPO will spearhead a robust enforcement campaign in towns and

cities across the country, to cut alcohol fuelled violence and target the

irresponsible few who encourage underage and binge drinking.

Work is already being done by forces up and down the country, and this

programme will enhance co-ordination, focus and sharing of what works.

Action would be specially tailored by forces to deal with the particular

problems of their area, using tactics such as:

*'sting' operations sending under 18s into off-licences and bars to

catch those encouraging underage drinking

*'naming and shaming' irresponsible vendors at all levels - from

corner shops to big nightclubs

*seminars across the country for police and key partners - including

the drinks industry - on the powers available to tackle alcohol-related

disorder

Key figures are:

Total crime: overall crime is unchanged compared to the same quarter in the

previous year.

*BCS crime is down one per cent

* Police recorded crime is unchanged

Domestic burglary:

*BCS rise of one per cent

*Police recorded crime fall of 11 per cent

*Chance of being burgled at its lowest level in 20 years

*Robbery: there continues to be a sustained fall in robbery largely

due to the street crime initiative

*Police recorded crime fall of seven per cent

*

*Violent Crime: Police recorded serious violence and less serious

violence have increased, this may be due in part to the continuing effects

of recording changes and a greater willingness of victims to come forward.

*BCS fall of five per cent.

*Police recorded crime increase of 11 per cent.

*Much of what is recorded as violent crime, such as common assault,

amounts to actions such as pushing and shoving, and involves little or no

physical injury to the victim.

*

*Vehicle crime: thefts of and from a vehicle continue to fall.

*BCS fall of three per cent.

*Police recorded crime fall of 10 per cent.

*

*Victimisation rate:

*The British Crime Survey shows the risk of being a victim of crime

remains historically low at 27 per cent - around the same level as 1981 and

one-third lower than the risk in 1995 (40 per cent).

Home Office minister Hazel Blears said:

'These are encouraging figures. Crime overall is stable and

I am pleased that volume crimes such as burglary, robbery and vehicle crime,

are continuing to fall significantly.

'But it is clear from these fig ures that crime trends are

changing. Property crimes, that constitute the vast majority of overall

crime, continue to fall. There are increases in violent crime and, as our

research on violent crime makes clear, this needs to be put into context.

Improvements in the way police record crimes mean that forces now have a

clearer picture of crime in their area and that low level thuggery, anti

social behaviour and alcohol-related crime which are included in the violent

crime figures, are recorded more accurately. Much of this crime is alcohol

related, happens at night or at weekends, with young men the most likely

victims - this is why our Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy for England is so

important.

'Today we are publishing further guidelines and measures to

tackle alcohol related crime and disorder including a police led campaign to

cut down on under-age drinking and the chaotic drink-fuelled scenes often

found in our town and city centres at throwing out time. This will begin

with a series of seminars to inform our partners - including those involved

in the alcohol industry - about the powers available to them to tackle

alcohol-related crime and disorder. This will be followed by sting

enforcement operations, to track down on those who are selling to underage

drinkers. These irresponsible premises will be named and shamed and could be

in jeopardy of losing their license.

'Out of control drinking can turn a night out into a

nightmare. 70 per cent of weekend night admissions to casualty are due to

alcohol and in 50 per cent of violent crimes the attacker is intoxicated.

The time has come to say enough is enough. The government is cracking down

on irresponsible landlords who encourage binge drinking, we are going to put

an end to no-go city centres - reclaiming them for decent, law abiding

citizens.

'We are working hard to tackle the problem of low level

thuggery and more serious violence. We have tough new powers in the

Ant-Social Behaviour Act and fixed penalty notices to deal with disorder and

harassment are now being used in every police force in the country. We are

increasing police powers to tackle domestic violence in the Domestic

Violence Crime and Victims Bill - the first reform of domestic violence law

in thirty years and this week the most radical overhaul of sex offence laws

for over 50 years to strengthen protection for the public from dangerous sex

offenders comes into force.

'The government still has work to do, but the BCS figures

show that people are realising that crime is actually going down - people

are less worried about burglary, vehicle crime and violent crime than they

were last year and less people think that anti-social behaviour is a problem

in their area. We are not complacent and there is still a great deal to do

but this does highlight that our work on the ground is having an impact.'

Chris Allison, ACPO lead on alcohol related offending and commander in the

Metropolitan Police, said:

'This is more than a policing issue and a close scrutiny of

the alcohol sale-and-consumption issue is long overdue. Police officers up

and down the country are all too familiar with people who drink themselves

to a point where they lose not only their inhibitions, but also their

self-control. And communities are sick of the aggressive behaviour, which

all too often ensues after excessive drinking.

'Police officers daily have to wrestle with violent

alcohol-fuelled youths who fight each other, attack innocent people, disturb

the peace and resist arrest. The evidence of drunken vandalism sprees is

there for everyone to see - smashed bus shelters; shattered shop windows;

vomit in doorways. These people also consume a disproportionate amount of

police resources, drawing officers away from local communities.

'The police service is working with the Government to take a

closer look at the link between violent disorder, irresponsible alcohol

sales and consumption, and we will do everything we can to support workable

initiatives. However, it is important to stress that there are many

responsible vendors and consumers of alcohol - and many who are not. We need

to continue our efforts with partners to tackle those who through their own

choice decide to flout the law.'

NOTES

1.'Crime in England and Wales: Quarterly update to December 2003' is

published today. Copies be be read at

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/whatsnew1.html

2.Also published today are two supplementary volumes. These are:

*Crime in England and Wales 2002/2003: Supplementary Tables: Nature

of burglary, vehicle and violent crime

*Violent crime in England and Wales

3.The National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS) was introduced formally

in all police forces in April 2002 and informally in a number of forces

prior to this. The (NCRS) has led to increases in some of the figures as

police are now recording crimes that, although taking place, were not

previously recorded. The new system is now more accurate and transparent,

recording a crime when a victim reports it.

The NCRS has been particularly effective at picking up

low-level thuggery and yobbish behaviour thatinvolve no serious physical

injury to the victim are listed as 'other wounding', 'common assault' and

'harassment', and it is these offences, accounting for two thirds of all

violent crime, that are driving the increases in police recorded violent

crime.

4.The Anti-Social Behaviour Act received Royal Assent In November

2003, press notice 069/2003. The Anti Social Behaviour Action Plan was

published on October 14 2003.

5.The Home Office launched a new crime statistics website in March

which presents crime statistics by local area - www.crimestatistics.org.uk

6.The Prime Minister's Strategy Unit published an Alcohol Harm

Reduction Strategy for England on 15 March 2004

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