An adult is attacked every 12 seconds

July 21, 2007 - 0:0

LONDON (Daily Mail) -- Violent crime rose by 5 percent in England and Wales last year, with attacks on adults recorded every 12 seconds.

Home Office statistics also revealed a 10 percent increase in vandalism -- with private property damaged once every 10 seconds on average -- and a 12 percent year-on-year increase in drug possession offences. Robberies recorded by police were up 3 percent to a three-year high of 101,370 -- reinforcing fears that gains from the Government's high-profile street crime crackdown have been lost after extra funding ran out. Overall, crime rose by 3 percent to 11.3million offences in the year to March, according to the British Crime Survey -- which ministers claim is the best measure of crime trends. Home Office officials dismissed the rise as not 'statistically significant.' Police forces recorded 2 percent fewer crimes, down to 5.4million, and ministers insisted the real picture was 'stable'. Officers solved fewer crimes last year -- 1,475,436 crimes in 2006/07, compared with 1,515,978 in the previous year. There was a growing trend towards dealing with crime by a caution or an on-the-spot fine. The proportion of criminals charged or summonsed fell 1 percent to 47 percent. However, cautions rose 3 percent to 24 percent, penalty notices for disorder rose 2 per cent to 9 per cent and formal warnings for cannabis possession increased 2 per cent to 6 per cent of the total number of detections. The British Crime Survey, based on interviews with thousands of households, showed violence against adults up by 122,000 incidents to 2.4million. This was a 5 percent increase and the equivalent to five attacks every minute. Fewer than half of all violent crimes last year were reported to police, whose official figures logged only 1,046,437 incidents --down 1 percent on the previous year. Soaring rates of vandalism will add to concerns that 'yob culture' is becoming more entrenched despite the Government's attempts to crack down on anti-social behavior as part of its 'respect agenda'. ------The British Crime Survey showed -- 2.9million cases of vandalism against private property -- up by almost a fifth over the past four years -- not including damage to public buildings or transport networks. -- Police recorded a 9 percent increase in cannabis possession cases, to 130,000 last year, following a 36 percent rise the year before. Home Office officials said the trend was 'entirely accounted for' by police giving more on-the-spot warnings to users following the drug's reclassification to Class C. That suggests huge numbers of cannabis offences were missing from previous crime figures as police turned a blind eye. -- There was also a 12 percent increase in possession of other illegal drugs, to 36,600 cases. Officials claimed that was due to police focusing more time on tackling drugs