Crime levels in Britain have more than doubled after official figures included cyber crime and fraud for the first time.
More than seven million of the newly counted offences are being committed a year, according to the first official estimates provided by the Office for National Statistics.
The ONS said preliminary research indicated there were 5.1 million incidents of fraud, with 3.8 million adult victims in England and Wales in the 12 months prior to being interviewed between May and August. There were a further estimated 2.5 million incidents of cyber crime falling under the Computer Misuse Act.
Not including fraud and cyber crime, data from the Crime Survey of England and Wales showed that other offences had actually fallen 8 per cent from last year.
With an estimated 6.5 million offences committed that were comparable year-on-year, it was the lowest level since the survey began in 1981
Separate police figures were much lower for recorded instances of cyber crime, which the ONS said was due to the different way the figures are recorded.
“The profile of cases covered by the CSEW cover the full spectrum of harm or loss,” the ONS said in a statement.
“Reporting rates are likely to be lower in cases where there is low or no harm, but merely inconvenience, to the victim.”
The police recorded figures showed an overall increase in crime rates, up 5 per cent to 4.3 million incidents.