The statistics show:
- the largest ever fall in recorded crime over a two-year period
- the longest uninterrupted fall in recorded crime since quarterly figures were first collected and published
- the first fall in recorded violent crime for almost 50 years
- falls in burglaries of five per cent, vehicle crime of nine per cent and sexual offences of nine per cent
Recorded crime figures for the year to June 1995 show that 5,104,400 offences were recorded, compared to 5,365,000 over the previous 12 months to June 1994 and 5,677,000 in the 12 months to June 1993.
This represents a two-yearly fall of 572,000 - the largest fall in the number of crimes on record. The two-year fall of 10% is the biggest percentage fall for 40 years.
The trend is nationwide with 35 out of 43 police force areas recording drops. Gwent police force recorded the biggest drop with an 18% fall.
Falls of 11% were recorded in Norfolk and Dyfed-Powys and of nine per cent in Surrey, Devon and Cornwall, Bedfordshire and Warwickshire.
Mr Howard said:
'We are turning the tide in the fight against crime. These figures show that rising crime is not inevitable. They are a clear testament to the effectiveness of police forces throughout the country and to the vigilance of local communities.
'But every crime is one too many, causing alarm and distress to its victims. Our comprehensive strategy to tackle crime will continue to focus on protecting the public and stopping criminals in their tracks.
'Carefully targeted crime prevention initiatives, together with close cooperation between police and local communities and effective punishment of offenders - this is at the heart of our approach.'
Notifiable Offences England and Wales, July 1994 to June 1995 show that:
- 93% of recorded offences were against property. These offences fell by 260,000 (five per cent) to 4.8 million
- burglaries, decreased by 69,000 or five per cent to 1.2 million, the second consecutive twelve-monthly fall
- there were 1,318,000 vehicle offences recorded over the year; a nine per cent fall or 130,000 offences. This figure included a 13% fall in the theft of vehicles
- there was a 12% increase in theft from the person to 55,800 and a three per cent increase in thefts from shops to 275,000
- sexual offences fell by nine per cent to 30,000, including a two per cent fall in the number of recorded rapes
- offences of fraud and forgery decreased by 11% to 137,100
- the run of eight consecutive quarterly falls is the longest run of quarterly falls since records began. It is twice as long as the previous longest run of quarterly falls.