Crime falls by a quarter amid coronavirus lockdown

Crime has fallen by a quarter during the Covid-19 lockdown, according to new figures.

The provisional data from all 43 territorial forces in England and Wales shows a 25% drop in overall crime, excluding fraud, in the four weeks to May 10, compared to the same period last year.

There has been a 36% reduction in police recorded burglary, a 41% drop in vehicle crime, and a 30% fall in serious assault and personal robbery, the figures released by the National Police Chiefs’ Council showed.

Recorded rape offences have fallen 28%, while shoplifting is down 53% with many retail businesses closed.

But assaults on emergency services workers are up 14% during the period amid a string of incidents where coronavirus has been used as a threat in coughing or spitting attacks.

Coronavirus – Sat May 16, 2020
Police monitor a gathering of people at Wollaton Park in Nottingham after the introduction of measures to bring the country out of lockdown.

And police have seen a 4% rise in domestic abuse incidents after fears were raised enforced isolation could see a spike in violence in the home.

NPCC lead for crime operations, chief constable Andy Cooke said: “These figures are not a surprise, as the public have largely stayed home during the lockdown period.

“Forces use any spare capacity they have during lockdown to focus on proactively pursuing criminals, completing complex investigations and reducing violence.

“As measures ease, we will bear down crime and do all we can to try and prevent it rising to pre-lockdown highs.

The number of 999 calls made to police forces has dropped by 23% and 101 by 25%.

Currently, around 7.3% of police officers and staff are absent from work across the UK.

NPCC chair Martin Hewitt said: “Policing remains in a strong position and we are not wasting any of the extra capacity this crisis has brought.

“Forces have been able to do more proactive policing and reduce backlogs in complex investigations, which will lead to justice being done for many victims, removing criminals from communities and getting ahead of crime before it happens.”

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