What’s happening at the Home Office?

Work with offenders digs through the annual report from Queen Anne’s Gate

We have ploughed through the report’s 208 pages to find 10 key facts and figures which we hope you will find of interest.

1: Restoring confidence in the criminal justice system

This is one of the Home Office’s primary objectives and readers may find it interesting that the government department explicitly acknowledges the current lack of confidence in our CJS.

2: Overall crime levels were broadly stable

Police-recorded crime decreased by 6% to approximately 5.7 million offences. However, this was driven largely by substantial falls in the period of April to June 2020 during national lockdown restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

3: Police recruitment

The most recent statistics, covering the situation as at 31 March 2021, show that 8,771 additional police officers have been recruited as part of the Government’s target to recruit an additional 20,000 new officers by March 2023.

4: Murder rate unchanged

Police recorded 698 homicides in England and Wales in the year ending September 2020 which is a 7% increase compared with the year ending September 2019. This figure includes the 39 victims of human trafficking found deceased in a lorry in Essex in October 2019. Without including this tragic incident, the number of homicides would have increased by 1% (from 655 in the year ending September 2019 to 659 in the year ending September 2020). Since 2016, the trend in homicides has been broadly stable.

5: Serious knife crime down

Hospital admissions for injury with a sharp object among under 25-year olds in England decreased from 1,899 in the year to December 2019 to 1,622 in the year to December 2020, a decrease of 15%, although again at least some of this decrease is attributable to lockdown.

6: Domestic abuse figures up again

In the year ending March 2020, the Crime Survey for England and Wales estimated that 2.3 million adults (male and female) aged 16 to 74 years old experienced domestic abuse in that year, equivalent to approximately 5.5% of adults. This represented no significant change from the previous year.

According to police recorded crime, there were 758,941 domestic abuse related crimes in the year ending March 2020, representing an increase of 9% on the year ending March 2019. The Home Office report says that this increase may reflect improved recording by police and/or increased levels of reporting by victims. It is important to note that this latest available data does not reflect the period of national lockdown restrictions beginning in March 2020 which we knew resulted in an increase in domestic abuse.

7: County lines

The report says that 640 county lines drug dealing operations have been closed since the start of the last financial year.

8: Drug seizures up

A total of 183,068 drug seizures were made in England and Wales by Border Force and police forces in 2019-20, a 20% increase compared with the previous year.

9: Staff diversity

Figures for 2020 show that 23% Home Office staff come from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds – against a target of 24%. However, just 7% of senior civil servants come from these ethnic backgrounds compared to a target of 12%.

10: Budget

The total Home Office budget expenditure for 2020/21 was £17.7 bn. more than half of which – £9.5bn was spent on the “Crime Policing and Fire Group”. The net budget for the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism was £965m and for the Serious and Organised Crime Group £251m.