UK: Knife Crime at Nine-Year High, Fatal Stabbings Highest Level on Record

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Knife crime has risen to a nine-year high with the number of fatal stabbings in England and Wales at its highest level since records began in 1946.

According to the Ministry of Justice, more than 22,000 cases of people possessing or making threats with a knife came before the courts in the 12 months to March this year, which represents an increase of one-third in just five years.

In just the first three months of this year, 5,759 instances were dealt with by the justice system, the highest level over a three month period in a decade, reports The Times.

Around three-quarters of those dealt with by the justice system in the first three months of this year were first-time offenders. The number of under 18s convicted or cautioned has risen by 48 per cent since 2015; but despite this, the number of young people given custodial sentences for knife-related crimes has plummeted by 17 per cent in just one year. Meanwhile, the number of adults given custodial sentences rose by six per cent over the same period.

Almost two-thirds of cases did not result in a prison sentence. Of those that did, the average sentence was just 7.9 months.

Yvette Cooper, head of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said in comments reported by The Sun: “It’s very worrying that the number of knife and offensive weapons offenses are at their highest number since 2010. It’s shocking that the Government still don’t have a grip on this violent epidemic.”

The new figures echo those released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in April, which showed that there were 40,829 knife related incidents across England and Wales in the previous year, an average of 112 every single day.

The ONS figures also showed that possession of a bladed or pointed object was up 20 per cent over the period, to a 20,958 cases. Homicides were up six per cent with four in 10 involving a knife or bladed object.

Knife crime has been particularly hard-hitting in London, with a recent report by the Greater London Assembly Conservatives called “The Cost of [London Mayor Sadiq] Khan” showing that knife crime in the capital had risen by 52.3 per cent.

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