Assaults and drugs trafficking among 202 crimes in and around Parliament within a year

By Ben Turner & Flaminia Luck

Latest figures have revealed that assaults, trafficking of controlled drugs, and grievous bodily harm are among some 202 crimes recorded on or around the parliamentary estate in the space of a year.

The data, released to The Sun newspaper under the Freedom of Information Act and seen by the PA news agency, showed the number of crimes recorded either on, outside, opposite, or near parliamentary buildings, Hull Live reports.

The Metropolitan Police said the figures were under review to more accurately reflect crimes that definitely occurred within the estate, as there was no standard way to identify where they took place.

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But the original FOI response, using geocoded crime data, detailed 36 assaults, the vast majority of which, 25 offences, were against police officers.

There were 25 thefts recorded, spread across thefts from the person, the theft of bicycles, theft from a vehicle and "other thefts".

There were also 52 cases of sending letters with the intent to cause distress or anxiety.

The request covered the period of April 1 2020 and March 21 2021, while many of the approximately 3,000 pass holders who work on the parliamentary estate would have been working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A Parliament spokesperson told The Sun: "The safety and security of members, their staff and the parliamentary community are an absolute priority.

"We work closely with the police to ensure members and staff are safe and are able to perform their duties."

Other offences recorded by police include four reports of violent disorder, two possessions of articles with blade or point, two cases of the possession of other weapons, and one offence related to stalking.

There were eight recorded cases of possession of cannabis, and a further five records of possession of other unspecified drugs, plus two recorded cases of trafficking in controlled drugs.

In the response, a map provided by the Metropolitan Police showed the figures covered a number of buildings used for parliamentary business including the Palace of Westminster and Portcullis House, where many MPs' offices are located.

The force said the buildings of the parliamentary estate were spread over around 0.08 square miles and while their data extraction method was mostly accurate, that some of the crimes recorded in their response may have occurred "somewhere on public thoroughfares, such as a tourist taking pictures of Big Ben and having some of their property stolen from their rucksack".

They added it was possible the crimes may have been recorded as at the "nearest prominent landmark" and "may have had nothing to do with that specific building location" and can be classified as having occurred outside, opposite, or near the location at which it was recorded.

The force also warned that because some parliamentary buildings may be built on top of public thoroughfares, for example, Portcullis House is above Westminster Underground station, this may also affect the figures.

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