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Release: Crime Statistics, Focus on Violent Crime and Sexual Offences, 2012/13

Released: 13 February 2014


John Flatley

Crime, Regional and Data Access Division

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7592 8695

Categories: Crime, Crime and Justice, Crime Trends, Crime in England and Wales, Victims of Crime, Violent and Sexual Crime, Robbery, Repeat Victimisation, Gun Crime, Knife Crime, Homicide, Sexual Crime

Frequency of release: Annually

Language: English

Geographical coverage: England and Wales

Geographical breakdown: Country

Survey name(s): Crime Survey for England and Wales

  • In accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007, statistics based on police recorded crime data have been assessed against the Code of Practice for Official Statistics and found not to meet the required standard for designation as National Statistics.  The full assessment report can be found on the UK Statistics Authority website. Data from the Crime Survey for England and Wales continue to be badged as National Statistics.

  • ONS will continue to publish and provide commentary on police recorded crime data pending consultation with users about their needs for such data in the light of the forthcoming inspection of data integrity being carried out by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary. Further information on the interpretation of recorded crime data is provided in the User Guide to Crime Statistics for England and Wales.

  • Between the 1995 and the 2001/02 surveys, the number of violent crime incidents fell, from 4.2 million in 1995 to 2.7 million in 2001/02. Since then there has been a general trend where the CSEW has seen a period of modest annual decreases (though often not large enough to be statistically significant year on year). The estimated number of violent incidents decreased by 13% between the 2007/08 survey and the 2012/13 survey. The CSEW showed a non-statistically significant 6% decrease in 2012/13 compared with the previous year.

  • In 1995 (when crime was at its peak) 5.3% of adults aged 16 and over were a victim of violent crime compared with the 2012/13 CSEW where the victimisation rate was less than half the rate in 1995 (2.6%).

  • Over recent years, the number of currently recorded homicides has shown a generally downward trend and the numbers for 2012/13 (551) and 2011/12 (530) were the lowest since 1989 (521).

  • In 2012/13, as in previous years, more than two-thirds of homicide victims (69%) were male, among those aged under one this was 50%.

  • In 2012/13, the police recorded 8,135 offences in which firearms were used, a 15% decrease compared with 2011/12. Offences involving knives or sharp instruments also fell by 15% between 2011/12 and 2012/13 (to 26,340). For context, overall police recorded crime fell by 7% over the same period.

  • The 2012/13 CSEW estimated that 2% of women and 0.5% of men had experienced some form of sexual assault (including attempts) in the last year.

Other useful information

This release is the second ‘Focus on’ publication by ONS covering violent crime and sexual offences. It explores a variety of official statistics on violence, and is primarily based on interviews carried out by the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) in the year to March 2013 and crimes recorded by the police over the same period.

This release is split into four sections, each covering a different range of sources of data on violent crime. The first section provides an overview of all these sources to highlight the diversity of violent crime. It summarises long term trends and explores patterns in the circumstances of violent offences, using the ‘Nature of violent crime’ (452 Kb Excel sheet) tables from the 2012/13 CSEW published alongside this release. The second section presents more detailed analyses of the Homicide Index data with details on the characteristics of victims and suspects. It also puts the latest figures in the context of international comparisons and long-term trends. The third section presents findings on the use of weapons in selected offences recorded by the police including firearms, knives and sharp instruments. It covers, how the weapons were used, the injuries caused, and describes the geographical distribution of these offences. The final section presents findings from the 2012/13 Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) self-completion module on intimate violence which is asked of adults aged 16-59. This covers experience of emotional, financial and physical abuse by partners or family members, as well as sexual assaults and stalking by any person. The 2012/13 module included a special focus on the nature of partner abuse which is also covered in this section of the report.

The CSEW is a face-to-face survey in which people resident in households in England and Wales are asked about their experiences of crime in the 12 months prior to the interview. For the crime types and population groups it covers, the CSEW provides a more reliable measure of trends in crime than police recorded crime statistics, as it has a consistent methodology and is unaffected by changes in levels of reporting to the police, recording practice or police activity.

Police recorded crime data are supplied to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) by the Home Office, who are responsible for the collation of recorded crime data supplied by police forces in England and Wales.

Following the Home Secretary’s acceptance of the recommendations of the National Statistician’s Review of crime statistics in June 2011 the collation and publication of crime statistics moved to the ONS on 1 April 2012. For previous publications please see the Home Office web-pages.

Following the transfer, ONS developed proposals for the future dissemination of crime statistics, with the aim of improving the presentation for users and providing a clearer picture of crime. A consultation which ran at the end of 2012 set out proposed changes to the content of regular crime statistics outputs and a summary response to the consultation was published in January 2013. As a result several changes to the presentation of the statistics were implemented, including re-classifying some elements of the police recorded crime data series.

For information on how to interpret the crime statistics please see the User Guide to Crime Statistics for England and Wales.

Crime Statistics Advisory Committee

In line with the National Statistician’s recommendations an independent Crime Statistics Advisory Committee has also been formed to provide advice on issues related to the collection and presentation of these statistics. Please see the UK Statistics Authority website for further information and minutes of meetings.

Further sources of police recorded crime data

Historic police recorded crime data tables can be found on the Home Office web-pages.

Police forces publish provisional recorded crime data at street level on the police website (The Office for National Statistics is not responsible for the content of this website).

Further survey information

Further Crime Survey information is available from the Crime Statistics methodological page. This includes:

  • A technical report providing covering all aspects of  the CSEW survey design, including sampling strategy, field operations, response rates, weighting methodology, and data processing.

  • A copy of the CSEW survey questionnaires 

Anonymised datasets from the Crime Survey for England and Wales (in SPSS format) currently are available on:

Researchers, including students, who need data for dissertations or practical work can use these datasets.

See the following websites for the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey and the Northern Ireland Crime Survey.


If you have any queries regarding crime statistics for England and Wales please email

The United Kingdom Statistics Authority has designated these statistics as National Statistics, in accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 and signifying compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

Designation can be broadly interpreted to mean that the statistics:

  • meet identified user needs;
  • are well explained and readily accessible;
  • are produced according to sound methods; and
  • are managed impartially and objectively in the public interest.

Once statistics have been designated as National Statistics it is a statutory requirement that the Code of Practice shall continue to be observed.

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