Drug crimes rose by a third during lockdown in England and Wales

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Drugs offences rose by 30% during lockdown in England and Wales, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The figures compared April to June 2020 with the same period last year.

They also show that theft and robbery crimes fell by 43% and 47% respectively during the lockdown months.

Overall crime was down by 4% to around 5.8 million offences in the year to June.

Bill Gazard, from the ONS centre for crime and justice, said decreases in crime levels were "mainly driven by changes in society after coronavirus restrictions were put in place".

"There are indications that crime levels in June were moving back towards pre-lockdown levels," he added.

The most substantial reductions were in theft and robbery offences, with knife crime going down by 21% and firearms offences reduced by 23% during April to June.

Mr Gazard said the rise in drug crime reflected "proactive police activity as overall crime levels reduced".

Anti-social behaviour incidents also increased, which included reported breaches of lockdown restrictions to the police.

In the 12 months ending June 2020, the overall number of homicides rose by 9%.

This figure, however, includes the Grays lorry incident, when 39 Vietnamese migrants died in the back of a vehicle found in Essex.

Excluding this, the number of homicides would have risen by 3% overall.

The other offences to see an increase over the year were violence against the person crimes (those usually involving bodily harm or the threat thereof) with a 3% rise.

However, this was the smallest annual increase since 2014 when improvements were made to data gathering.