Crime rate at 11.8 million incidents fuelled by fraud and cyber offences

Updated: 

The headline crime rate is almost double the level previously reported after fraud and cyber offences were included in the total for the first time, figures show.

Experimental statistics show there were 3.6 million fraud and 2 million computer misuse offences in England and Wales in the year to September.

The inclusion of these crimes yields a new headline estimate of 11.8 million incidents covered by the Crime Survey for England and Wales, the Office for National Statistics said.

Stripping out the two categories gives a tally of 6.2 million - which was not a "statistically significant" change compared with the previous year.

Questions on victims' experience of fraud and cyber crime were incorporated in the survey from October 2015 and have been included for a full 12 months.

Statisticians said it will be another year before the annual headline estimate including the new sections can be compared.

John Flatley, of the ONS, said: "In its 35-year history, the Crime Survey has charted changing trends in crimes experienced by the population.

"In the past, burglary and theft of vehicles were the high-volume crimes driving trends but their numbers have fallen substantially since then.

"When the CSEW started, fraud was not considered a significant threat and the internet had yet to be invented.

"Today's figures demonstrate how crime has changed, with fraud now the most commonly experienced offence.

"However, it should be emphasised that the new headline figures, including fraud and computer misuse, are not comparable with those from earlier years."

Policing Minister Brandon Lewis said: "Police reform is working and crimes traditionally measured by the survey have fallen by a third since 2010 to a record low, with over 370,000 fewer violent crimes a year.

"Crime is changing and the way it is measured needs to change too so that we can continue to protect families and communities from the biggest threats.

"This Government is already taking world-leading action to stamp out fraud and cyber crime, including investing £1.9 billion in cyber security over five years. Understanding more about these crimes will help us continue to protect those who are vulnerable."