After falling for several years, knife crime in England and Wales is rising again. For this reason what is happening?


This is one 80% rise from the low-point in the year ending March 2014, once there were 23,945 offences, and also is the highest possible number because comparable data to be compiled.

These statistics carry out not include those from greater Manchester Police since of data record issues.

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Police numbers are vulnerable to changes in count rules and also methods, yet data for NHS hospitals in England over a similar period showed an 8% increase in admissions for assault by a sharp object, top the Office for national Statistics (ONS) come conclude there had been a "real change" to the downward tendency in knife crime.

Doctors claimed the injuries they were treating were becoming much more severe and the victim were acquiring younger, with boosting numbers of girl involved.


All the the statistics right here relate to England and Wales. Policing, criminal justice and also sentencing room devolved in Scotland and Northern Ireland, which likewise collect crime data in slightly different ways.

In the latest figures, which incorporate only selected knife offences, about half, 21,700, were attacks that caused an injury or where there to be an will to reason serious harm; a additional 20,172 involved robberies.


These figures focus top top homicides, or killings, a classification comprising situations of murder, manslaughter and infanticide. In around two the end of every five killings, the victim to be fatally attacked with a sharp object or stabbed to death.

The number of knife-related homicides go from 272 in 2007 come 186 in 2015. Since then it's climbed every year, v a steep boost in 2017-18, as soon as there to be 285 killings, the highest possible figure since 1946.

The figures likewise show 25% of victim were black color - the greatest proportion because data was very first collected in 1997.


Although knife crime is on the increase, it need to be seen in context. It's fairly unusual because that a violent incident to show off a knife, and rarer still for someone to require hospital treatment.

Most violence is led to by human being hitting, kicking, shoving or slapping someone, sometimes throughout a fight and also often once they're drunk; the police numbers on violence likewise include crime of harassment and stalking.

The Crime survey for England and also Wales, which contains offences the aren't report to police, suggests that as whole levels of violence have fallen by around a quarter due to the fact that 2013.

However, the police-recorded statistics - which have tendency to pick up an ext "high harm" crimes - have actually indicated that the most serious violent crime is increasing.

In the year come March 2019, 22,041 people were cautioned, reprimanded or judge for transporting a knife in England and Wales, many of whom to be adults. But one in five - 4,451 - was under the period of 18.

In 2018, numbers from the mayor's office showed that young black and also minority country teenage boys and men were disproportionately affected, as both victims and perpetrators.

The metropolitan Police chef Commissioner Cressida penis has stated tackling violence in London is her "priority".

Next greatest was the north West, v 93 knife offences every 100,000 population, and Yorkshire and also the Humber, 86.

The explanations for increasing knife crime have actually ranged indigenous police budget cuts, to gang violence and also disputes between drug dealers.

The powers enable officers to search people on the street if they have actually reasonable grounds to doubt they might be transporting weapons, illegal drugs, stolen building or items to be used to commit a crime. Human being can also be searched there is no reasonable grounds if a an elderly officer to trust there's a hazard of serious violence in a certain area.

From 2009, the number of stops fell sharply across England and also Wales, especially in London, primarily due to the fact that of comes to that the actions unfairly target young black color men, wasted police resources and were ineffective at recording criminals.

Theresa May, as home secretary, led efforts to drive under the variety of stops, but there's anecdotal evidence from police that young people are now more inclined to lug knives due to the fact that of growing confidence lock won't be stopped.

The statistics basis for that is much from clean - however Scotland Yard, through the market of London's support, has started increasing the usage of stop and search again.

Prime Minister Theresa May has said there is no "direct correlation" in between the increase in knife crime and a loss in police numbers, but the worry is contested.

In 2018, a residence Affairs Committee report stated police forces were "struggling come cope" amid falling staff numbers and a leaked home Office document said they had actually "likely contributed" come a climb in serious violent crime.

The median prison term because that those jailed for delivering a knife or other offensive weapon has gone up from almost five months to well over eight months, with 85% serving at the very least three months, compared with 53% just 10 year ago.

Sentences for every kinds that violent crime have been gaining tougher, specifically for knife crime. The set of Justice monitor the penalties applied for those recorded carrying knives and also other offensive weapons in England and Wales.

In the year ending December 2018, 37% that those dealt with were jailed and a more 18% were given a suspended prison sentence. The numbers for 2008, when the data was first compiled, to be 20% and also 9% respectively. End the exact same period, there's to be a steady decline in the usage of ar sentences, and also a spicy drop in cautions, indigenous 30% to 11%.

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Public anxiety around knife crime, legislative branch changes and firmer guidance because that judges and magistrates have actually led come the stiffer sentences, although criminal under 18 are still more likely to be cautioned than locked up.

This piece was initially published in January 2018, but is updated routinely to include the latest statistics.