Opposition leaders said the disclosures were a "damning indictment" of the Government's failure to tackle deep-rooted social problems. The figures combined crime statistics for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The UK had a greater number of murders in 2007 than any other EU country – 927 – and at a relative rate higher than most western European neighbours, including France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
It also recorded the fifth highest robbery rate in the EU, and the highest absolute number of burglaries, with double the number of offences recorded in Germany and France. Overall, 5.4 million crimes were recorded in the UK in 2007 - more than 10 a minute - second only to Sweden.
Chris Grayling, shadow home secretary, said: "This is a real damning indictment of this government's comprehensive failure over more than a decade to tackle the deep rooted social problems in our society, and the knock-on effect on crime and anti-social behaviour. "We're now on our fourth Home Secretary in this parliament, and all we are getting is a rehash of old initiatives that didn't work the first time round. More than ever Britain needs a change of direction."
The figures were sourced from Eurostat, the European Commission's database of statistics. They are gathered using official sources in the countries concerned such as the national statistics office, the national prison administration, ministries of the interior or justice, and police.
A breakdown of the statistics, which were compiled into league tables by the Conservatives, revealed that violent crime in the UK had increased from 652,974 offences in 1998 to more than 1.15 million crimes in 2007. It means there are over 2,000 crimes recorded per 100,000 population in the UK, making it the most violent place in Europe.
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