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Crime in the United Kingdom - Statistics & Facts

There were over 6.43 million crime offences recorded in the United Kingdom in 2019/20, an increase of around 120 thousand offences when compared with the previous reporting year and the highest in the UK since 2003/04, when there were 6.56 million. After 2003/04, crime in the UK fell in almost every reporting year, reaching a low of just 4.4 million offences by 2013/14. Since 2013/14, UK crime has experienced year-on-year increases, with the reductions in crime made between 2004 and 2014 virtually wiped out by 2018/19. The 6.43 million crimes reported in 2019/20 translated to a crime rate of approximately 96.3 crimes per 1,000 people in the United Kingdom, with England & Wales having a slightly higher crime rate than this average, and Scotland and Northern Ireland both having lower crime rates. The UK region with the highest number of crimes in 2019/20 was London, at over 850 thousand, with Yorkshire having the highest regional crime rate at over 100 crimes per 1,000 people there.

What is driving the increase in crimes in the UK?

The sharp increase in crimes in recent years which came after significant reductions almost certainly has multiple causes, but one of the main factors is likely the cuts to public services imposed across the UK when the government was implementing austerity measures. Crime figures began to increase just as funding for the police hit a low of 16.35 billion British pounds in 2013/14, with funding not increasing by any significant amount until 2017/18. One of the main consequences of these spending cuts was a net decrease of 21.5 thousand British police officers between 2010 and 2018. Another factor driving the overall crime increase is the sudden increase in certain types of crime, such as sexual offences in the UK, which almost tripled between 2011/12 and 2018/19. The fact that sexual crimes were often under-reported in the past combined with the new investigations into historic sex offences has driven some of this increase.

Homicides in the UK

While overall crime figures have almost reached levels not seen since the early 2000s, the annual number of homicides in the UK in 2019/20 was 809, compared with 1,215 in 2002/03. During the same time period, the homicide rate fell from 20.5 per 1,000 people, to 12.1, with the homicide rates for Scotland and Northern Ireland seeing significant declines. By contrast, London has seen a significant rise in homicides, with 163 recorded in 2017/18, compared with 101 in 2016/17. In 2019/20, however, two regions of England had higher homicide rates than London, North West England, which contains the major UK cities of Manchester and Liverpool and East England. The tragic discovery of 39 dead migrants in a lorry in Essex is one of the main reasons why this region had such a homicide rate in this reporting year.

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Crime in the UK

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