METROPOLITAN Police Chief Sir Paul Stephenson says he is “concerned” that the number of burglaries and robberies in London has shot up over the last year.

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“I am concerned about burglary,” Stephenson told a House of Commons committee yesterday.

“That seems to be going up.”

There is no seems about it. New official figures show that house burglaries rose by 19% between May 2010 and May 2011 and that robberies increased by 15%.

Other police figures for London reveal that the three month stretch from March-May this year saw an 11% rise in the ‘thefts from a person’ category over the same period last year.

On the bright side, car crime fell by 2%.

Experts believe the recession is one likely cause of the rise in burglaries and robberies, while opposition politicians point to the government’s cuts in the police budget: the Met now has nearly 1,000 fewer officers than a year ago.

“These figures are deeply concerning and show the risks the government is taking with law and order,” said Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper.

Justice Secretary Ken Clarke admitted the crime situation was getting worse.

“It is going up rather alarmingly compared with a year ago,” he said.

Sir Paul himself appeared to blame the on-going probe into the phone-hacking scandal, which he says is taking up the time of 45 officers.

“Would I wish that these very experienced detectives were investigating robberies? Of course I would,” he said.