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Knife crime soars by 7% to highest ever level with 45,627 offences in England and Wales in 2019

The number of recorded knife crimes in England and Wales soared by 7 per cent its highest ever level in 2019, with a third of all offences recorded in London.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics today show that police recorded 45,627 offences involving a knife or sharp instrument.

This is an average rate of 125 knife crimes per day between last January and December – 49 per cent higher than when comparable recording began in 2011.

But the true number of knife crimes in England and Wales is likely to be higher, as the figures do not include Greater Manchester Police. 

Home Office figures for last year also show that only one in every 14 offences led to court proceedings – less than half the rate five years ago. 

In England and Wales last year, there were 435 attempted murders involving a knife or a sharp instrument, and 4,151 threats to kill involving a knife.   

Over 20,000 cases of assault with injury and assault with intent to cause serious harm with a knife, and 19,943 cases of robbery, were recorded. 

A MailOnline graph shows that recorded knife-related offences in England and Wales rose by 7 per cent in 2019 from 2018, and increasing 49 per cent since April 2010-March 2011

A MailOnline graph shows that recorded knife-related offences in England and Wales rose by 7 per cent in 2019 from 2018, and increasing 49 per cent since April 2010-March 2011

A MailOnline graph shows that recorded knife-related offences in England and Wales rose by 7 per cent in 2019 from 2018, and increasing 49 per cent since April 2010-March 2011 

ONS figures show that police recorded 45,627 knife-related offences (pictured, a MailOnline map showing overall increase in recorded offences across England and Wales)

ONS figures show that police recorded 45,627 knife-related offences (pictured, a MailOnline map showing overall increase in recorded offences across England and Wales)

ONS figures show that police recorded 45,627 knife-related offences (pictured, a MailOnline map showing overall increase in recorded offences across England and Wales)

There were 660 recorded cases of rape and sexual assault involving a knife, and 242 cases of knife-related homicide last year, the figures show. 

London is the knife capital of the UK, with 15,492 police-recorded knife offences – a rate of 174 per 100,000 of the population, up from 168. 

The figures also show a 15 per cent rise of homicides recorded by the Metropolitan Police in the last year – to 146 from 127.

Of all recorded homicides last year, 40 per cent involved a knife or sharp instrument, a similar proportion to 2018, according to the data. 

The West Midlands is in second place with 5,200 knife crimes, up from 4,659 offences the year before – an 11.6 per cent rise.

 The South East (4,796), the East (3,685), the East Midlands (3,433), and the North West also noted increases from 2018 of 2.2 per cent, 31.3 per cent, 13.1 per cent, and 14.6 per cent respectively, according to the ONS figures.

Home Office figures for 2019 show that only one in every 14 offences led to court proceedings - less than half the rate five years ago (pictured, police in Whitehall, March 9, 2020)

Home Office figures for 2019 show that only one in every 14 offences led to court proceedings - less than half the rate five years ago (pictured, police in Whitehall, March 9, 2020)

Home Office figures for 2019 show that only one in every 14 offences led to court proceedings – less than half the rate five years ago (pictured, police in Whitehall, March 9, 2020)

Last year's bumper figure of 45,627 recorded knife-related crimes is up from 2018's figure of 42,555, over 40,000 in 2017, and 33,726 in 2016 (pictured, stock photo)

Last year's bumper figure of 45,627 recorded knife-related crimes is up from 2018's figure of 42,555, over 40,000 in 2017, and 33,726 in 2016 (pictured, stock photo)

Last year’s bumper figure of 45,627 recorded knife-related crimes is up from 2018’s figure of 42,555, over 40,000 in 2017, and 33,726 in 2016 (pictured, stock photo)

Last year’s bumper figure of 45,627 recorded knife-related crimes is up from 2018’s figure of 42,555, over 40,000 in 2017, and 33,726 in 2016.

The number of knife offences between April 2010 and March 2011 – when comparable records began – was 30,620.

Burglary was down 7 per cent (366,718), while theft fell 9 per cent (3,402,000). 

The rising trend in knife crimes could be driven by an increase in robberies, the ONS suggested, after the number soared 12 per cent to 83,930. It could also be driven by gang warfare as the battle to control the drugs market continues.

Joe Traynor, from the ONS, said: ‘Knife or sharp instrument offences continue to be concentrated in metropolitan areas across England and Wales, with around a third (34per cent) of all offences recorded by the police in London.’  

The rise in police-recorded knife-related offences since 2011 comes as the charging rate has declined since 2014-15, according to Home Office data.

Priti Patel (pictured, February 2, 2020) vowed to 'give the police the stop and search powers, funding and extra officers they need to keep our families, communities and country safe'

Priti Patel (pictured, February 2, 2020) vowed to 'give the police the stop and search powers, funding and extra officers they need to keep our families, communities and country safe'

Priti Patel (pictured, February 2, 2020) vowed to ‘give the police the stop and search powers, funding and extra officers they need to keep our families, communities and country safe’

London is the knife capital of the UK, with 15,492 police-recorded knife offences - a rate of 174 per 100,000 of the population (pictured, police at Weymouth Station in Dorset, July 2018)

London is the knife capital of the UK, with 15,492 police-recorded knife offences - a rate of 174 per 100,000 of the population (pictured, police at Weymouth Station in Dorset, July 2018)

London is the knife capital of the UK, with 15,492 police-recorded knife offences – a rate of 174 per 100,000 of the population (pictured, police at Weymouth Station in Dorset, July 2018)

1,500 more county lines drugs gangs in just a year: New figures reveal shocking rise in number of young people being groomed into trade as cocaine consumption in the UK rockets 290 per cent since 2011 

By Rebecca Camber, Chief Crime Correspondent for the Daily Mail

The disturbing scale of the county lines epidemic was laid bare this month as new figures showed drug operations doubled in a year.

Over 3,000 gangs were reported by police in 2019 – double the 1,500 of 2018, a National Crime Agency report revealed. It is a four-fold increase since 2017 when there were 720 operations shipping heroin and crack cocaine from cities to provincial towns.

The term county lines refers to the individual phone lines used by gangs to sell and distribute drugs.

Despite a crackdown by forces, figures from the National County Lines Coordination Centre show 800 to 1,100 phone lines advertising drugs are active every month.

Gangs are recruiting an army of youngsters to replace those arrested for dealing, with the report warn-ing that children as young as 11 are being intimidated into becoming ‘runners’.

And the number of young people being groomed to become money mules – so criminals can access their savings accounts – has shot up by 26 per cent since 2017.

In 2019, 7.1 per cent of crimes resulted in a suspect being charged or summonsed, down from 8.2 per cent in 2018. In 2014-15, the rate was 15.5 per cent. 

Home Office figures show the percentage of crimes in which suspects were cautioned has fallen to 1.3 per cent (2019) from 4.6 per cent (2014-15).

Responding to today’s ONS figures, Home Secretary Priti Patel vowed to ‘continue to give the police the stop and search powers, funding and extra officers they need to keep our families, communities and country safe’.  

The National Police Chiefs’ Council claims that tactics such as stop and search has led to an increase in the recording of knife and blade possessions. CC Andy Cooke, said: ‘These figures show that the level of crime decreased by five per cent in the period to December 2019, with the overall trend remaining broadly stable.

‘While it is highly unlikely that you will be a victim of violent crime, tackling violence continues to be a police priority and the use of tactics such as targeted stop and search has led to an increase in the recording of knife and blade possession offences by 11 per cent during this period. We are clearly in a very different place since the coronavirus outbreak however, with provision data from police forces showing a reduction in crime by around 28 per cent compared to the same period in 2019.

‘Our day-to-day service is not being impacted and people should keep reporting crime to us – our teams will work round the clock to keep the public safe and respond to emergencies.’ 

Diana Fawcett, of the charity Victim Support, said: ‘We are concerned that reports of knife crime and homicide have risen. Although the streets are quieter, the impact of knife crime is still being felt.’ 

Last year, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that he would lead a new Cabinet committee looking at ways to tackle crime across the UK. 

The Government has pledged to increase the amount of funding available to the policing system for this year by over £1.1billion, totalling £15.2billion. 

Up to 6,000 additional officers have been allocated in the first wave and will be shared among the 43 territorial police forces in England and Wales.

The Government said it will change the law so that police, councils, and health authorities are required to work together to prevent and tackle serious violence.

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