The number of crimes recorded in England and Wales has risen by 13% according to official figures from the Office of National Statistics – the largest annual increase in a decade.
A reported 5.2 million incidents took place in the 12 months leading up to June 2017 compared to 4.6 million the previous year. The volume of crime recorded over the past few years appears to be following a worrying upward trend, with an increase of 5% in June 2014-15, followed by a 7% rise from June 2015-16.
Violent crime is also climbing with around 1.2 million incidents recorded – 19% higher than the year before. This figure encompasses a range of offences such as violence with injury, knife crime, harassment and stalking.
There is some debate about the true scale of crime in England and Wales due to the different methods used to measure it. Released on the same day, The Crime Survey for England and Wales suggests there was actually a 9% fall overall, despite a total of 10.8 million incidents. Based on people’s experiences of crime, the survey involves 38,000 participants and gives insight into many offences that often go unreported.
John Flatley, of the Office for National Statistics, said: “Today’s figures suggest that the police are dealing with a growing volume of crime. While improvements made by police forces in recording crime are still a factor in the increase, we judge that there have been genuine increases in crime – particularly in some of the low-incidence but more harmful categories.”
Of course, the threat of violence for those on the front line is very real, especially for those working in the public sector, law enforcement, social work and healthcare. Emergency service workers in particular have seen a shocking increase in the level of abuse they receive, with one Police force recently reporting a 58% rise in assaults on officers.
In fact, any workers that are in regular face to face contact with the public may be at a higher risk. It’s therefore vital that employers identify which employees could be a potential target and put adequate safety measures in place. As we find ourselves in increasingly dangerous times, the need to protect those that are vulnerable or more likely to fall victim to crime is now greater than ever.