“High-harm” violent offences involving weapons continue to rise, official figures have revealed, as knife and gun crime, as well as homicide, increase in England and Wales.
Offences involving knives or sharp instruments went up by 16% to 40,147, according to police-recorded crimes for the year to March published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The total number of homicides – murder and manslaughter – rose 12% by 74 to 701 in the period, when stripping out exceptional incidents with multiple victims such as the terrorist attacks in London and Manchester.
Gun crime rose but at a less pronounced rate than knife crime with a 2% rise to 6,492 offences in the period.
The figures cover the first three months of the year when there was a surge in violent crime, particularly involving stabbings in London, raised fears of an epidemic and prompted ministers to release a serious violent crime strategy.
Caroline Youell, crime statistics and analysis at the ONS, said: “Most people don’t experience crime. Today’s figures show a fairly stable picture in England and Wales for most crime types. It is too early to say if this is a change to the long-term declining trend.
“There have been increases in some lower-volume ‘high-harm’ offences such as homicide and knife crime, consistent with rises over the past three years. However, the latest rise in gun crime is much smaller than previously seen.
“We have also seen continued increases in some theft offences such as vehicle-related theft and burglary, while computer viruses have fallen.”
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