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Knife crime hits record high

KNIFE CRIME: Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show knife-related offences have risen 8 per cent in a year

KNIFE CRIME in England and Wales has hit a record high, according to new government figures released today.

The Office for National Statistics figures for offences recorded between April 2018 and March 2019 show that police dealt with 43,516 offences involving a knife of sharp instrument, up from 40,215 the previous year.

The number of knife offences are the highest since comparable records began in 2011 when figures from Greater Manchester Police (GMP) are included. The total number of recorded knife crimes rises to 47,135 with the inclusion of GMP data.

GMP has been excluded from some of the headline statistics compiled from 43 police forces in England and Wales because of its previous undercounting of knife crime offences.

The ONS data shows the trend of knife crime in urban areas continues.

The highest number of offences took place in London (32 per cent) with 169 offences taking place per 100,00 people.

After London, Greater Manchester saw the most knife crime incidents (129 per 100,000 people), then the West Midlands and West Yorkshire with 118 and 166 offences per 100,000 people respectively.

Possession of blades increased 21 per cent to 22,169.

The ONS said that the rise was consistent when compared with figures over the last six years and the highest increase since March 2009.

There was also a rise in the number of recorded offences involving firearms, up 3 per cent from the year ending March 2018. In the year ending March 2009, 6,684 firearms offences were reported.

Statistician Mark Bangs from the Office for National Statistics Centre for Crime and Justice said: “The picture of crime is a complex one. Overall levels of crime have remained steady, but this is not the case for all types of crime. For example, overall levels of violence have remained steady but we have seen increases in violent crimes involving knives and sharp instruments. We have seen increases in fraud and overall theft, but decreases in burglary following recent rises.”

On Monday, mayor of London Sadiq Khan said there was an “unarguable” link between poverty and knife crime.

New figures from City Hall show that three-quarters of the boroughs in London with the highest levels of violent crime are also in the top 10 most deprived.

“The truth is if we allow children to be brought up in deprived conditions as a country, if we accept high rates of school exclusions, if we fail to tackle domestic and sexual violence, if we leave people in bad housing with a lack of employment and training opportunities, and if we decimate the very public services designed to support those most in need – as this government has systematically done - then crime is quite simply much more likely to flourish,” Khan said.

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