New Figures Show Crime Trends

New crime figures due to be published will show whether street crime has continued to rise. Home Office figures in July revealed a shock 8% leap in England and Wales last year, including a 10% rise in armed robberies.

Police recorded 98,204 robberies in 2005/06 compared with 90,747 the previous year.

It was the first rise since Prime Minister Tony Blair introduced the street crime initiative in 2001, when offences peaked at 121,000.

Thursday’s quarterly figures covering April to June this year will indicate whether Home Secretary John Reid has so far had success in turning the tide.

In July, Mr Reid said the rise in robbery was fuelled by criminals’ desire for the latest mobile phones and MP3 players, and insisted he was already taking action.

The Home Office was giving “targeted expert advice” about 27 street crime hotspots in a bid to cut levels, he said.

Officials claimed that last year’s rocketing robbery rates were mainly due to a surge in London, where reports of the crime jumped by 16%.

In the figures, total recorded crime was up 2% to 1,220,198 offences.

Use of handguns in crime rose 7% to 4,652 offences.