UK Peace Index Shows Fall In Violent Crime

The UK has seen a "substantial and sustained" fall in violent crime over the last decade, according to a report.

A new UK Peace Index has revealed that violent crime in Britain is falling more rapidly than anywhere else in Western Europe.

The murder rate has halved since 2003, from 1.99 per 100,000 people to one per 100,000 with the violent crime rate falling from 1,255 to 933 per 100,000 people, according to the research.

Broadland, in Norfolk, was the most peaceful area at local authority level, followed by Three Rivers in Hertfordshire, South Cambridgeshire, East Dorset and Maldon in Essex.

Inner London boroughs were the least peaceful - headed by Lewisham and followed by Lambeth, Hackney, Newham and Tower Hamlets.

The most peaceful region in the UK was South East England and the least peaceful Greater London followed by Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The least peaceful major urban centre in the UK was Glasgow, followed by London and then Belfast.

The research, which covers the 10-year period from 2003 to 2012, showed the rate of murders and manslaughter in Britain was at the lowest level since 1978.

It was revealed that almost all categories of crime, including burglary and fraud, have dropped - except drug offences.

The findings come from the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), which defines peace as the absence of violence or fear of violence.

Their report says: "Both crime and homicide have fallen significantly.

"The fall over the last decade has resulted in the UK homicide rate now being roughly equivalent to that of the Western European average, and it is now at its lowest level since 1978.

"However, the UK violent crime rate is significantly higher than the European Union average."

The study credited the falling crime rate to changes in policing, including improved technology, as well as an ageing population, reduced alcohol consumption and the introduction of the minimum wage.

The IEP also claims that violent crime costs the UK economy more than £124bn each year - £4,700 for every household.

Murder alone costs the economy around £131m a year, which does not include lost productivity. The cost of theft and burglary adds up to around £7bn.