The number of killings on Britain’s streets is at its highest level in a decade, shocking crime figures revealed today.
There were 732 police recorded homicides – which includes murders and manslaughter cases – in England and Wales last year, the highest since 2008 and the equivalent of two a day.
The number of knife offences also rose by six per cent – with more 40,800 recorded crimes involving a blade.
The figures come as an apparently endless series of stabbings in London and other cities has triggered a political row over cuts to police funding.
Police at the scene of the country’s latest knife killing in Harborne, Birmingham this morning
The number of homicides – which includes murder and manslaughter cases – dropped between 2009 and 2014- but has since risen sharply
Today’s statistics show a marked increase in the number of knife crimes in the last three years
Today’s Office of National Statistics crime report showed an increase in knife offences in 31 of the 43 police forces in the year leading up to December.
The Metropolitan Police recorded the largest volume, at 14,660. Merseyside saw a rise of 35% and North Yorkshire’s knife crime increased by 21%. British Transport Police saw an increase of 54%.
The number of overall violent offences recorded by police was more than 1.6million, a 19% increase on 2017.
What do today’s crime stats show?
- Last year, homicides rose by 6% year-on-year to 732 offences.
- Robbery offences rose by 11%, to a total of 82,566.
- There were 40,829 police-recorded offences involving a knife or sharp instrument – a 6% increase.
- The number of violent offences was more than 1,608,500 last year – a 19% increase on 2017.
- Total police-recorded crime, excluding fraud and computer misuse, stood at 5.2 million offences in 2018 – up 7%.
The group Victim Support said behind each one of today’s statistics is a tragic story of a lives wrecked by crime.
A spokesman said: ‘It’s deeply concerning to see homicides continue to rise and we know from working with those bereaved by murder and manslaughter through our national Homicide Service just how devastating the impact is on family and friends, witnesses to the crime and the wider community.’
One of the latest killings was that of an 18-year-old man who was stabbed to death in the Harborne area of Birmingham on Wednesday evening.
Yesterday, a 21-year-old man became London’s 38th murder victim this year after he was one of four victims stabbed in seven hours of bloodshed in the capital on Tuesday.
The figures will put further pressure on the government to increase funding to police forces, who say they do not have the resources to cope.
Police in south London took this fearsome knife off a man during a stop and search yesterday
This map shows knife crime rates for different parts of the country, with darker areas worse
This map shows the increase or decrease in knife crime in the last year. Areas which are brown of yellow have seen a fall in knife crime. Green areas have seen an increase
Five worst areas for recorded knife crime
1. London; 14,660 offences in 2018; up 1% on the previous year.
2. West Midlands; 3,210; up 17%
3. West Yorkshire; 2,715; up 20%
4. Thames Valley (Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire); 1,483; up 19%
5. Merseyside; 1,231; up 35%
*the statistics did not include Greater Manchester
Ashley Bertie, the Assistant Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands, which has seen a surge in stabbings, called for more money.
He said: ‘These statistics should be a wake-up call for the government to ensure they give policing the funding it needs.
‘West Midlands Police has faced £175 million in central government cuts since 2010. Despite being recognised by independent inspectors as a highly efficient force, we have lost over 2,000 officers since 2010, meaning we are having to do more with less.
‘These figures highlight the government’s short-sighted approach to policing and the need for a long term funding solution for forces.’
Labour MP Yvette Cooper, who chairs the Home Affairs Select Committee, said the ‘disturbing increase’ in violent crime comes as arrests continue to fall.
‘The police are completely overstretched and crime prevention work is far too limited,’ she said.
‘The problem of violent crime is going to get worse unless the Government acts, and it is families and communities across the country who are paying a terrible price.’
Longer term trends show that overall crime has decreased from the beginning of the 1990s
Graphs showing the likelihood of being a victim of crime show that around one in four people are hit overall, with fraud the most likely offence to fall victim to
Policing minister Nick Hurd said: ‘Today’s statistics show that your chance of being a victim of crime remains low, and the Metropolitan Police’s more recent figures suggest that action to tackle violent crime is having an impact.
‘Yet too many people are still falling victim to serious violence, which is why we will continue our urgent and unprecedented action to reverse this terrible trend.
‘We have given police forces additional powers and have this year put more than £1 billion extra into policing, including council tax and £100 million specifically for those areas worst affected by violent crime.
‘But law enforcement alone is not the answer which is why our Serious Violence Strategy puts a greater focus on prevention, including by consulting on a proposed new duty to underpin a public health approach to serious violence and investing over £220 million in projects to steer young people away from crime.’
London has already seen 38 murders this year. These were not included in today’s stats