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New crime figures for England and Wales indicate a 28% fall in the numbers of victims of violence during the first year of the Covid pandemic.

However, the Office for National Statistics says there has been a 36% rise in fraud and computer misuse offences in the 12 months to March 2021.

Overall, people’s experience of crime, as measured by the Crime Survey for England and Wales, remained relatively flat compared with the year before – with more crimes online cancelling the falls in more traditional offences.

Eight out of 10 people were not victims of any crime.

Police-recorded crime fell 10% year-on-year, with substantial falls during periods of lockdown. The number of homicides fell 16% to 600 offences, the lowest figure for four years.

There was also a 14% fall in recorded firearm offences and a 15% drop in crimes involving knives. Recorded sexual offences fell 9% but domestic violence incidents reported to police increased 6%.

The ONS says improvements to police recording make it impossible to conclude whether there has been an increase in domestic abuse victims during the pandemic.

Because the crime survey was carried out by phone rather than face-to-face, direct comparisons are more difficult.

But the figures suggest a 15% fall in violence and a 20% reduction in theft cases.

According to survey data, the number of fraud offences increased by 24% in 2020/21 compared to the previous year.

Only a quarter of these cases resulted in any loss of money or property.

Computer misuse offences went up 85% year-in-year.

The ONS suggests the increase in online shopping and other activity may have fuelled the rise.