POLICE-RECORDED crime in Wales and England has hit a new high, driven by sharp increases in violent and sexual offences, new figures show.
A total of 6.5 million crimes were recorded in the 12 months to June 2022, up from the previous all-time high of 6.3 million in the year to March.
The figure is also up 12 per cent compared with the year to June 2021, when crime levels were affected by Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.
The total includes 196,889 sexual offences, up 20 per cent year-on-year from 164,043 and 21 per cent higher than pre-pandemic levels.
The number of recorded sexual offences fell during periods of lockdown but there have been “substantial increases” since April 2021, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) which published the figures.
This may reflect a number of factors, including “the impact of high-profile incidents, media coverage and campaigns on people’s willingness to report incidents to the police, as well as a potential increase in the number of victims,” the ONS said.
Some 2.1 million violent crimes against the person were recorded by police in the 12 months to June, up 13 per cent year-on-year and up 20 per cent on pre-pandemic levels.
Comparable data for police-recorded crime begins in 2002.
There were 70,600 rape offences recorded in the year to June, another record high and an increase of 20 per cent from 59,046 in 2019/20.
The number has nearly doubled in just over six years, from 36,321 in 2015/16.
Domestic-abuse related offences totalled 912,181 in the year to June, up six per cent on the previous 12 months and up 14 per cent on 2019/20.
Some of this increase “may reflect improvements seen in recording and reporting over the last few years,” the ONS added.
Knife crime remains below pre-pandemic levels, mainly because the number of knife-enabled robberies was 27 per cent lower in the year to June compared with 2019/20.
A total of 49,991 offences involving a knife or sharp instrument were recorded by forces in the 12 months to June, up eight per cent year-on-year but below the 55,076 offences in the 12 months to March 2020.
Levels of knife crime fell during the early part of the pandemic due to government restrictions on social contact.
Homicide numbers are also still below pre-pandemic levels, with 679 recorded in the year to June, a drop of five per cent on the year to March 2020.