Latest figures show 13% drop in knife crime but 15.6% increase in sexual offence reporting.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) yesterday published the Metropolitan Police Service’s (MPS) crime figures which continue to reflect both the ongoing pandemic related impact of crime levels, as well as the substantial activity targeted to maintain lower offending levels.

The figures show a drop in numerous groups including knife crime but sadly a 15.6% increase in the number of sexual offence reporting.

The Met was criticised in October last year for its poor track record on investigating sexual offences and has since worked actively to change this.

They have issued the following:

We are pleased to see the 12 month rolling stats to September 2021 have recorded decreases in ten specific crime groups including, theft, burglary and robbery.

Driving down violence is the top priority for all in the Met. Our continued efforts are having an impact, with ONS data showing violence with injury crime decreasing by 4.5%.

Our own stats from January to December 2021, compared to the same period prior to the pandemic in 2019, showed the following decreases in violent crime. Homicides have decreased by 13%, knife crime by 32%, knife crime with injury by 20%, knife injury by 27%, gun crime by 35% and lethal barrel discharges by 21%.

Also personal robbery has decreased by 44% (16,170 fewer victims) and personal robbery knife with injury has decreased by 34% (186 fewer victims), in part due to a lower footfall, however we have continued to promote the Met’s ‘Look Up. Look Out’ street robbery advertising campaign to help tackle this. This is designed to remind those who live and work in London of the importance of being alert to their surroundings to help reduce their chances of becoming a victim.

Using your mobile phone when out, or headphones in both ears, can distract you from what is going on around you. It also reminds Londoners to try not to draw attention to their valuables, for example their phone and jewellery.

The campaign is focused in areas experiencing the greatest volume of street robberies with geo-targeted mobile phone advertising, priming people before they go into a high risk area and reminder advertising in hotspot areas

Despite these reductions, we know there is more to do. Our determination to tackle these crimes remains strong and we will continue to work with our partners and use every power and tactic available to serve and protect our communities.

The ONS stats have shown burglary has also decreased by 18.1%, along with vehicle offences by 13.3% and theft from person has decreased by 10.5%

They also show a 15.6% increase in sexual offence reporting in London. We know sexual offending has historically been under-reported. It is hoped this increase in some way reflects improving levels of trust and confidence within communities, allowing us to see a true picture of these types of crimes.

We are absolutely determined to improve the way we investigate rape and sexual assault. We continue to work hard with our partners and the Crown Prosecution Service to expedite the digital forensic and judicial process to support victims who have shown great bravery in reporting to police.  

We are investing £11 million in digital forensics to help us bring more criminals to justice and deal more effectively and efficiently with victims of crime, including rape and serious sexual offences. This is enabling us to develop and use our technology to catch more criminals, speed up investigations, build more successful criminal cases and reassure victims.   

We have established specialist Predatory Offender Units across London to arrest and charge those who carry out violence, much of it domestic or sexual violence. Since November 2021 they have arrested over 3,000 suspects, of which 1,790 arrests related to domestic abuse.  

The Met is also growing and we are focusing on our town centres, transport hubs and busy high streets. We are deploying 650 new officers into new Town Centre Teams, working in city centres and high streets to reduce crime and increase confidence in communities through greater police visibility. 

Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave, Front Line Policing, said: “Following a year of sustained effort by the MPS to confront and prevent criminality, we are pleased to see crime falling in London by nearly 7% (6.8%).

“It is also clear that the targeted efforts the MPS has made, and continues to make, to suppress violence both during the lockdowns and after has been working.

“As a result we’ve seen significant reductions in several violent crime categories and managed to contain increases elsewhere.

“We are of course concerned by the increase in reported sexual offences, the majority of which will involve female victims and we look to progressing our recently published Violence Against Women and Girls action plan, which sets out exactly what we intend to do to tackle both the reality and perception of safety for women and girls in London. We know there is still work to be done here and we are committed to delivering it.

“In light of this, we are not complacent and know there will always be more to do. Our determination to tackle crime in all its forms remains as strong as ever and we will continue to work with our partners, and use every power and tactic available, to serve and protect Londoners.”

You can find the Violence Against Women and Girls action plan here alongside our Rebuilding Trust plan:

We want to hear the public’s feedback on this plan and comments on what else they think the Met should be doing. It can be done online at

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