Knife crime in England and Wales hits record high

23 January 2020, 11:03 | Updated: 23 January 2020, 11:20

Police at the scene where three men died in Seven Kings in London
Police at the scene where three men died in Seven Kings in London. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

Knife crime in England and Wales hit a record high in the year to September, up by 7% on the previous 12 months.

Police-recorded offences involving a knife or sharp instrument rose to 44,771, figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show today.

The figures come just days after a triple stabbing in London left three men dead.

The total number of homicides recorded by police fell by 6%, from 654 to 617.

There was also a 20% drop in homicides where a knife or sharp instrument was used, to 221 offences, mainly driven by a decrease in London.

The rise in robberies was "evident for the fourth consecutive year", the ONS said, with a 12% increase to 82,542 offences.

The ONS report said: "While recording improvements are likely to have contributed to the rise, some of the increase is likely to reflect a real change."

The number of crimes of violence against a person rose by 12% in the 12 months to just over 1.6 million.

Vehicle offences also rose 4% to 441,351, "continuing the rising trend seen over the last three years", the ONS said.

But the number of burglaries recorded by police fell by 4% to 380,567 offences, while the number of gun crimes remained almost identical to the previous year at 6,144.

Criminal damage and arson fell by 2% to 531,662 offences, while criminal damage to a vehicle dropped 7% to 196,790 offences.

In total, police-recorded crime rose by 7% to almost 5.8 million.

Excluding fraud and computer misuse offences, this stood at just over five million, an increase of 5% from the previous year.

The figures do not include Greater Manchester Police, which records data differently.

Helen Ross, from the ONS centre for crime and justice, said: "In the last year, there has been no change in overall levels of crime, however this hides variations in different types of crime.

"For example, there have been continued rises in fraud, vehicle offences and robbery, and decreases in burglary and homicide.

"Although the number of offences involving a knife has continued to increase, there is a mixed picture across police forces - and overall levels of violence remain steady.

"We have also seen the number of homicides where a knife or sharp instrument was used decrease by a fifth, driven by falls in London."

The figures prompted Barnardo's chief executive Javed Khan to reiterate calls for the Government to take "urgent action" to "break the spiral of violence".

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