Knife crime offences hit record high in England and Wales – By Sky News Staff (Sky News) / Oct 17 2019
There has been a decrease in homicides, but recorded knife crime offences are going up.
Knife crime offences hit a record high in England and Wales, rising 7% in the last year, according to the Office for National Statistics.
The statistics show police-recorded offences involving a knife or sharp instrument rose to 44,076 in the year up to June 2019.
The numbers exclude Greater Manchester Police, because the force’s data is not comparable due to reporting issues.
The number of homicides recorded by police fell by 5% in the last year, from 719 to 681 offences.
There has also been a 14% decrease in homicides where a knife or sharp object was used, down to 248 offences.
The ONS said this drop is mainly down to a decrease in London.
Joe Traynor, from the ONS centre for crime and justice, said: “While overall levels of violence have remained steady, the number of offences involving a knife has continued to increase across England and Wales.
“However, the number of homicides where a knife or sharp instrument was involved decreased, driven by falls in London.
“There is a mixed picture in the total number of knife crime offences across police forces with the Metropolitan Police recording little change in the last year.”
Admissions data for NHS hospitals in England and Wales 5,069 admissions for assault by a sharp object between April 2018 and March 2019, an increase of 2% on the previous year, and higher than the figure of police-recorded offences.
But this could be explained by a difference in the recording of data, particularly as the knife does not have to have been used in order to be recorded by police as a knife offence, if the threat was perceived to be real.
Records of a rise in possession of a knife or bladed article also rose in the year up to June 2019, up by 22% to 22,962 offences.
Offences involving firearms went up by 4%, to 6,734 in the year ending June 2019.
There was a large increase in the recorded instances of unidentified firearms, but this was balanced by a drop in offences involving firearms and rifles.
Knife crime offences become what the ONS call a special collection, covering crimes such as attempted murder, threats to kill, forms of assault and rape. It’s believed the majority of crimes involving a knife will be included, with homicide class separately.
There was an 11% rise in robbery, to 88,177, with 41% of these recorded in London.
The rise has been consistent since 2015, the ONS said, and added it was “likely to reflect a real increase in these crimes”.
In total, police recorded crime rose by 7% to more than 6m incidents. If fraud and computer misuse is eliminated, it stands at 5.27m – a 6% increase.