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Violent Crime

Volume 558: debated on Monday 11 February 2013

15. What recent assessment she has made of the detection rates for violent crimes against the person; and if she will make a statement. (142190)

In 2011-12, the police detected more than 353,000 offences of violence against the person. That represents a detection rate of 46.4%, which is up from 44.7% in 2009-10.

I thank the Minister for his answer, but my statistics suggest that police officer numbers are at their lowest in a decade, and that 7,000 fewer crimes of violence against the person were solved in the past year. Does the Minister understand that simple connection, and is it time to stop and reverse the police cuts?

I took the trouble to look up the crime figures for Bedfordshire, which I know will be of interest to the hon. Gentleman; he can tell the House how he sees the correlation. Recorded crime is falling in Bedfordshire. Figures for the 12 months to September 2012 compared with the corresponding 12 months in 2011 show a total reduction in crime of 12% in just one year. Violence against the person was down by 15%, and the Government should be pleased with that record while not being complacent and trying to drive crime down further.

Official figures show that 30,000 fewer crimes were solved last year—the first time that figure has fallen in more than a decade. Does the Minister think that the 11,500 fewer police officers on the front line have anything to do with fewer criminals being caught and convicted?

Two things make Labour MPs look really glum: unemployment falling and crime falling. Any party whose interests conflict so directly with the interests of the people it purports to serve has got political problems. The most recent figures from the crime survey for England and Wales show an 8% fall in crime, and recorded crime statistics are down 7%. The Government have got crime down to the lowest point since records began in 1981, so there are fewer crimes to detect. I hope we will carry on and get crime down even further.