Crime still low in lockdown, but assaults on emergency workers rise
NPCC figures show that lockdown effect on crime still holding
Provisional figures released by the NPCC for June 2020 show police recorded crime for 43 police forces in England and Wales has fallen overall by 18 per cent compared to the same period in June 2019.
There is, however, a slight increase in levels of crime compared to the 28 per cent fall in recorded crime for the four weeks to 12 April, and the 25 per cent fall for the four weeks to 10 May. This is likely due to the effect of lockdown restrictions easing and more people being allowed out of their homes, creating more opportunities for criminals.
Commenting on the figures, National Police Chiefs’ Council Chair, Martin Hewitt said: “The vast majority of the public have followed the rules in place to limit the spread of the virus, and as a result we have seen sustained reductions in crime over the course of the lockdown period. It is no surprise that as more people are able to move around freely, we will begin to see movement towards previous levels, however this is a gradual change. We are reassured to still be observing significant falls in crime overall.”
However, assaults on emergency service workers continued to rise by 24%, compared to 14% in May. These offences are recorded in relatively low volumes and it is thought the rise may be driven by increases in common assaults on police constables, including suspects spitting on officers while claiming to be infected with Covid-19. It is important to note, however, that this figure will include some assaults related to disorder in the wake of the protests in early June.
National Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, John Apter, said: “It comes as no surprise that crime overall is down from the same time as last year. The lockdown restrictions have prevented criminal activity, which is a good thing for the public. The slight increase shows that as the lockdown has lessened, the opportunities to commit crime has increased.
“It is of serious concern that while overall crime has dropped, assaults on emergency workers have increased by 24%. I do not accept any excuses for this rise - any violence shown towards police officers or any emergency workers must be taken seriously by the criminal justice system and should send the message that this is completely unacceptable."