The British Crime Survey reveals that offences fell by 9 per cent in 2009/10.
It is the first time the total number of offences dropped below the 10 million mark since records began.
Officials say there has been a "notable" fall in some crimes, including theft, burglary and fraud.
The figures bucked widespread fears that the credit crunch would fuel an upturn in these offences.
Police recorded the lowest number of murders since 1997, but some categories of violent crime including wounding and mugging showed minor increases.
New Home Secretary Theresa May welcomed the news but warned the results offer only a "partial picture".
The figures indicate that crime has plummeted by 43 per cent during Labour's 13 years in power.