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Policing

Part of Opposition Day — [9th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 2:55 pm on 4th November 2015.

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Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Secretary of State for the Home Department 2:55 pm, 4th November 2015

I am going to make progress.

The right hon. Member for Leigh and others are right when they say that those crimes are serious, and it is absolutely right that the police are recording more incidents of each, but it is wrong to suggest that an increase in police recording necessarily means more crime in communities. As the independent Office for National Statistics said last month:

“as well as improvements in recording, this is also thought to reflect a greater willingness of victims to come forward to report such crimes.”

Victims of crime—often very vulnerable people who have endured horrendous suffering and torment—are coming forward to tell their stories to the police and to put the perpetrators of their abuse behind bars. Members across this House should welcome that and not seek to manipulate or use it for their own ends. As I said earlier, according to the independent crime survey, crime is down by more than a quarter since 2010.

Thirdly, the right hon. Gentleman says that crime is changing and traditional crimes such as burglary and car theft are being replaced by modern criminality like cybercrime. Crime is indeed changing, but the level of some digital crimes in no way compares with the dramatic falls in conventional volume crimes over the past five to 10 years. Crime survey data also show that the proportion of plastic card users who were victims of fraud is currently around 25% lower than its peak in 2009-10.

This Government have not failed to recognise the changing nature of crime; we have faced up to it. In 2012, we set up the National Crime Agency to lead the fight against serious and organised criminality. In 2014, we brought Action Fraud into the City of London police to better co-ordinate the response to fraud and financial crime. Our national cyber-security programme has invested nearly £900 million in protecting British people, businesses and state assets against cyber-attack. For the first time ever, the Office for National Statistics now publishes an estimate of the number of cybercrimes and frauds experienced by members of the public, making us the first major western country to capture the changing nature of crime.