Robberies up eight per cent

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Robberies were up eight per cent in the final quarter of 2006, new crime statistics have shown.

According to Home Office figures released today, the overall level of crime in England and Wales has fallen two per cent during the final quarter of last year compared to the same three-month period in 2005.

Such findings have been backed up by the results of last year's British Crime Survey (BCS), based on interviews about the perceived threat of crime, which suggests crime levels have remained stable.

Recorded crime statistics show downward trends in domestic burglary (down three per cent), vehicle thefts (down three per cent), violence against the person (down two per cent) and drug offences (down three per cent).

But robberies from the person, or muggings, soared by eight per cent during the last quarter, while the BCS indicated that vandalism was also up by 11 per cent.

Responding to the figures, Ian Johnston, the Association of Chief Police Officers' (Acpo) lead on crime and the chief constable of British Transport police, said they "show that by using targeted initiatives, overall crime levels are being reduced".

"We acknowledge that robbery went up in this period, however, overall, robbery figures have been cut by a fifth in the last five years," he said.

"Our determination is to continue that trend. This determination is reinforced by local crime and disorder initiatives that are supported by The Robbery Action Plan, which tackles local robbery hotspots by using plain-clothes officers and dedicated robbery response vehicles."

The publication of crime figures has been a constant source of debate, with many observers claiming that the two different methods of recording crime often led to confusion.

And Mr Johnston echoed those concerns, adding that Acpo "looks forward" to the upcoming review of crime statistics.

"It is clear that crime figures and statistics should be presented in a way that can be easily understood by the public and all other interested parties," he added.

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