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Crime and victims

Violent crime

The negative effects of violent crime on our families and communities can't be over-estimated. We are committed to reducing violent crime, in all its forms.

Violence in society

The risk of becoming a victim of any crime has fallen steadily over recent years, but although violent crime has fallen by 41% since its peak in 1995 (Crime in England and Wales 2007/08), when it does occur, it is traumatic and distressing.

We are doing all we can to continue bringing crime rates down.

Violent crime and the law

Our Violent Crime Action Plan details how we will work to stop violent crime from happening in the first place.

We try and stop low-level aggression and intimidation through measures designed to reduce alcohol-related offences and anti-social behaviour, because we know alcohol abuse and low-level crime are at the root of many crimes.

The Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 (new window) gives police and local communities the power to tackle these problems as well as the more serious violence caused by guns and knives.

The powers in the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 include:

  • a civil order to tackle alcohol-related crime and disorder – a Drinking Banning Order
  • creation of Alcohol Disorder Zones – to ensure that licensed premises take collective responsibility for alcohol-related disorder
  • the power for police to impose 48-hour bans on pubs and clubs persistently selling alcohol to minors
  • the maximum penalty for possession of a knife in a public place without good reason doubled from 2 years to 4 years
  • tougher sentences for carrying imitation firearms
  • a new offence of using another person to hide or carry guns
  • increasing the age limit for buying a knife, air weapon or crossbow to 18

New rules on knives

In 2007, laws regarding the selling of knives changed, and it became illegal to sell knives to anyone under the age of 18.

Owners of businesses that deal in knives should download our leaflet on the changes in the law so that they can be sure to comply with the rules.

Supporting communities dealing with gun crime

In 2007 rules relating to air guns were tightened sharply, and they now can only be sold by licensed firearms retailers. The new rules also made it illegal to sell a crossbow to anybody under 18 years old.

All the new rules are explained in the Violent Crime Reduction Act (see above).

Since May 2004 we have disbursed more than £1.25 million in grants through the Connected Fund (new window) to local community groups to support gun, knife and gangs intervention projects in England and Wales. So far, the fund has helped 300 groups dealing with this tragic and frightening issue.

Learn more about what we're doing about gun crime.

Making sense of statistics: the definition of 'violent crime'

The crimes that are classed as 'violent crime' for the purposes of statistics, are robbery, sexual offences, assault and murder.

For more information about what we're doing about these kinds of crime, and what you can do about all types of crime, take a look at the rest of the reducing crime section.

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