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Crimes solved by police in England and Wales at new low

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The proportion of crimes solved by police in England and Wales has fallen to the lowest level recorded, according to Home Office data.

In the 12 months to March, 7.8% of offences saw someone charged or summonsed, down from 9.1% a year ago.

The data began to be compiled in 2015.

It comes after Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick acknowledged too many offences were being left unsolved, in a speech about the future of policing.

She said sifting through vast amounts of phone and computer data was partly responsible and called for investment in resources, technology and expertise to drive up clear-up rates.

The Home Office said work to improve crime recording by police forces has “both increased the volume forces are dealing with and changed the crime mix to include more complex cases, such as sexual offences and domestic abuse, which can be more challenging to resolve”.

A spokesperson added: “At the same time, while more crimes are now being recorded, in a growing proportion of cases the victim either doesn’t support further action or police are unable to contact them.”

Separate figures from the Office for National Statistics show there was no change in overall levels of crime, although recorded offences of robbery rose by 11% and knife crime was up 8%.

The ONS said the increase in this “less frequently occurring but higher-harm types of violence” was consistent with a rising trend in recent years.

The figures show there were 43,516 offences involving a knife or sharp instrument in the 12 months to March – the highest since comparable records began in 2011. The figures exclude Greater Manchester Police which record its data differently.

There were a total of 85,736 offences of robbery, but a 3% fall in burglary.

The total number of killings increased to 701 offences from 693 in the previous 12 months, excluding terror attacks.

Meanwhile, figures show there has been a small increase in the number of police officers in England and Wales over the last year.

As of March 2019 there were 123,171 officers up from 122,405 the previous year – the first year on year increase in the number of police officers in a decade. However, the proportion of officers in frontline policing roles has remained the same.

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