by Catherine Smith
The number of knife crime related incidents in England and Wales hit a record high in the year to September, up by 7% on the previous 12 months.
Police-recorded offenses involving a knife or sharp instrument rose to 44,771, figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show. There were 617 homicides last year in England and Wales, with 40 per cent of those murders being committed with a knife or sharp object, Breitbart reports.
Helen Ross from the Office for National Statistics Centre for Crime and Justice said: “In the last year, there has been no change in overall levels of crime, however, this hides variations in different types of crime.”
“For example, there have been continued rises in fraud, vehicle offences and robbery, and decreases in burglary and homicide,” adding that: “Although the number of offenses involving a knife has continued to increase, there is a mixed picture across police forces”.
It was revealed last week that the police and courts in England and Wales are dealing with the highest number of knife crimes in a decade. “The figures, which do not include data from Greater Manchester, due to a discrepancy in data logging, underline the scale of the knife crime epidemic currently plaguing the United Kingdom, a country with very strict gun laws.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan attempted to minimize the figures, and said in a statement: “The scourge of violent crime is still rising — and faster elsewhere than here in London. The only solution is to be both tough on crime & on the causes. When will the Government finally fully reverse their cuts to the police, youth services, schools, sports facilities & councils?”
Under the leadership of Mayor Sadiq Khan, however, the number of child stabbing victims in London reached an 11-year-high in November and the murder rate in London climbed to its highest level in a decade, with three men dying in one knife attack last week.
Tackling the scourge of knife crime has been a top priority of British police; however, street gangs in Britain are increasingly stashing knives, machetes and other weapons in playgrounds and parks to evade stop-and-search tactics taken by police, Detective Chief Superintendent Lee Hill told The Times.
“These knives could have fallen into the wrong hands; worse, they could have been acquired by young children,” said Mr Hill.
Lucy Martindale, a youth worker from London who over seven years has lost 11 family members and friends to murder, gun and knife crime, spoke out in October about the severity of violence among young people.
She said, “The situation is getting worse, even just this year.”
“Some young people I speak to say before they leave the house – where most people check they have picked up their keys and wallet or purse – they check they have their knives with them.”
In October a trauma surgeon at the Royal London Hospital, Martin Griffiths, warned that knife crime criminals were improving their skills in order to maim and disfigure their victims.
“We’re seeing more complex wounds in areas where bits join together on the body, junctional areas, like the neck and the groin, and that suggests a movement towards more severe wounds and more numbers of wounds. We’re seeing more victims with multiple injuries,” he told the BBC.
“I hope it’s just a blip, but I worry there’s a change in attitude towards knife injuries. That people are becoming better educated in how to cause damage,” Griffiths added.
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Catherine Smith is a newcomer to Washington D.C. She met, and married an American journalist and moved to D.C from the U.K. She graduated with a B.A in Graphic, Media and Communications and worked in design and retail in the U.K.