LEWISHAM has been judged the least peaceful local authority area in the whole of the UK, a new study has revealed.

Rates of murder and violent crime have fallen in the UK over the past decade, according to UK Peace Index.

Yet Lewisham is ranked as the least peaceful area with a homicide rate - including murder, manslaughter and infanticide - of more than twice the national average at 2.5 in 2012.

The study looks at the levels of peace – defined as the absence of violence and the fear of violence – within the UK from 2003 to 2012.

The five indicators for how peaceful an area is are the number of homicides, the number of violence crimes, weapons crime, public disorder offences, and the number of police officers per 100,000 people.

Knife crime, social deprivation, and a high number of teenage pregnancies were all deemed major problems in Lewisham with Lewisham Central ward seeing the bulk of the borough’s crime.

The study closely links deprivation with a lack of peace and more than 60 per cent of Lewisham households were shown as being deprived in housing, education, health and employment.

In recent years, knife crime between young people aged 13 and 24 are listed as a concern with the conception rate for under 18 year olds standing at 1.8 times the national average.

2011 was the worst year for homicides in Lewisham with 11 recorded and its average of seven per year compares unfavourably against a national decline in the number and rate of homicides.

Despite decreases in weapons crime and violent crime in recent years, the number of incidents remains well above national trends, the report concluded.

UKPI was drawn up by the Institute for Economics and Peace and compares 343 local authorities where 278 are deemed more peaceful now than in 2003.

South East England is judged as the most peaceful region in the UK with Broadland, Three Rivers and South Cambridgeshire as the top local authority areas.

Whereas the five least peaceful are all London boroughs with Lewisham topping the charts, followed by Lambeth, Hackney, Newham and Tower Hamlets.

Lewisham's top cop stresses that crime has fallen overall in the past year but the force are not complacent and there is much work to do with knife crime remaining a priority.

Lewisham Borough Commander Supt Russell Nyman said: "The peace index shows that the UK has become a more peaceful place and the end of financial year crime figures covering 2012/13 for London which were released yesterday shows that there were over 45,000 fewer crimes recorded compared to last year.

"Overall crime in Lewisham has fallen by 9.3 per cent over the last year - that's 2,537 fewer crimes in the borough and we have seen decreases in offences in some key areas such as knife crime, robbery and violence against person compared to last year.

"Knife enabled crime has fallen by 27.9 per cent, robbery has fallen by 13.9 per cent and violent crime has fallen by 8 per cent in the last 12 months

"Whilst we have seen crime fall in these key areas we are not complacent. We acknowledge that there is still a lot of work to do, especially knife crime and violence, which remains a priority for us over the forthcoming year.

"Serious youth violence and supporting the younger generation who may be, or are affiliated to a ‘gang culture’ way of life will wherever possible be supported through Trilogy Plus, a joint enterprise between Lewisham Police and the Lewisham Council."

He added: "As we go forward in this new financial year substantial organisational changes will be taking place but it is through working together as a team, working with our partners and continuing to deliver the very best services to the people of Lewisham that we will be able to continue to drive down crime. Our priorities for the new financial year are to reduce crime, detect crime and to provide a first class service to the public."

Do these results surprise you? Is Lewisham the least peaceful place in the world?