Official UK crime statistics show increase in fraud cases and computer misuse offences

Caitlin Morrison
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Card fraud has increased in the UK (Source: Getty)

Fraud was the most commonly experienced offence in England and Wales last year, according to new data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), with stats showing UK card fraud went up by almost 40 per cent.

In its Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW), published today, the ONS revealed there were an estimated 6.2m incidents of crime in the year ending September 2016, which the ONS said was not significantly different from last year.

First time

However, this was the first CSEW that included a full year's data on fraud and computer misuse offences (such as the 2015 TalkTalk data breach), and including these offences "yields a new headline estimate of 11.8m incidents of crime covered by the survey", the ONS said - there were an estimated 3.6m fraud and 2m computer misuses offences in the 12 months ended September 2016.

According to the ONS, trend data on frauds referred to the police showed an annual rise of three per cent, while "other industry data on financial fraud, the vast bulk of which is unreported to the police, showed there were 1.9m cases of frauds on UK-issued cards", representing an increase of 39 per cent from the previous year. In August last year, research from software analytics firm Fico showed card fraud in the UK had increased 18 per cent year-on-year.

The CSEW estimates showed no statistically significant change in levels of violence compared with the previous survey. The police recorded an annual rise of 22 per cent in violence against the person offences, but the ONS said the volume increases were "largely driven by changes in recording processes and the inclusion of additional harassment offences within the series".

Crime has changed

“In its 35 year history the Crime Survey has charted changing trends in crimes experienced by the population. In the past burglary and theft of vehicles were the high volume crimes driving trends but their numbers have fallen substantially since then," said John Flatley, who works on crime statistics and analysis at the ONS.

"When the CSEW started, fraud was not considered a significant threat and the internet had yet to be invented. Today’s figures demonstrate how crime has changed, with fraud now the most commonly experienced offence. However, it should be emphasised that the new headline figures, including fraud and computer misuse, are not comparable with those from earlier years."

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