Violent crime in Britain is increasing despite the biggest annual drop in overall crime in 10 years, according to Home Office figures published on Wednesday.

A ministry spokesman said violent crimes against individuals in the year to the end of September rose 13 percent to 153,500. Sex crimes rose 10 percent to 26,800 but overall crime dropped by three percent, the largest fall since 1978.Home Office minister John Patten described the overall drop as "a triumph for the ordinary citizen and good policing," saying violent crime accounted for just seven percent of all offences.

"Although violent crime causes deep public concern, it is property crime and burglary that actually affect more people," he said.

A Home Office spokesman said the government was trying to curb violent crime with more police manpower, tougher sentences, legislation against dangerous weapons and tougher policing of the worst affected areas.

He said the rise in violent and sexual crimes was less steep than in the year to the end of June, when they rose 17 percent and 16 percent, respectively.